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Battle Red Blog - All Posts The Roller Coaster That Is Texans Fandom

  • Laremy Tunsil Contract Extension Negotiations Have Begun
    by Matt Weston on March 31, 2020 at 2:00 pm

    Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images Laremy Tunsil go brrrrrrrrrr. General manager Bill O’Brien dropped a bomb on the National Football League last summer. He traded Jadeveon Clowney to Seattle after Clowney refused to sign a franchise tag to play in Miami. He then traded two first round picks, a second round pick, Johnson Bademosi, and Julien Davenport, for Kenny Stills and Laremy Tunsil. a fourth round pick and a sixth round pick. O’Brien corrected summer offensive line decisions that would have proved disastrous in the fall. The Tunsil trade was great last season because O’Brien gave up zero assets that affected the 2019 Houston Texans, but now the bills are starting to arrive. Even though money wasn’t a valid reason to trade DeAndre Hopkins, the second round pick, a source of cost effective talent, was the center point of the trade, not David Johnson. When you eventually pay a quarterback $37 million a year, it’s impossible to build a complete roster around him. Certain areas of the team are neglected. The core competencies of the team have to overlap with the weaknesses. Hitting in the draft is critical with less cap room available to spend in free agency and to resign your own players with. Those future assets are starting to turn into current assets. And Tunsil’s fourth year of his rookie contract is now his fifth year. His cap hit has increased from $2.1 million to $10.5 million this season. Next season he’s free to hit unrestricted free agency and the salary tag for an offensive lineman would probably be around $17 million. Tunsil’s bargain days are nearly over. After sinking their top draft assets into Tunsil, the Texans won’t let this get to that. They have enough cap space this season to turn Tunsil’s $10.5 million into $18 or $20 million, whatever the highest paid left tackle in the league salary will come out to. According to Aaron Wilson, the Texans and Laremy Tunsil have started contract negotiations. No deal is imminent or regarded as close, though, per sources. The Texans’ initial proposal averaged roughly $18.5 million per year, and Tunsil is countering with a significantly higher offer, per sources. Reportedly, Tunsil is looking for $20 million a year, which would be $3.5 million more than Anthony Castonzo makes, and $2 million more than Lane Johnson makes. The highest paid player at the position isn’t always the best player, but the last one to sign his contract. It doesn’t sound like a contract extension will happen soon, but it will happen sometime this summer. Keep hitting that refresh button. Keep scrolling timelines. Keep checking Facebook. Keep reading the paper. Because this, well this, this is sports now.

  • Houston Texans News: March 31, 2020
    by Jeremy_Brener on March 31, 2020 at 11:00 am

    Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images Your one-stop shop for Houston Texans, local sports, and news from around the league for Tuesday, March 31, 2020. Houston Texans News Laremy Tunsil commits $250K, offers to pay bills of those affected by COVID-19 (HoustonTexans.com) NFL News Frelund mock draft 2.0: Analytics say Pats go QB (NFL.com) Slater: Pats’ ‘standard doesn’t change’ sans Brady (NFL.com) Oregon QB Herbert set for video call with Raiders (NFL.com) Expanded playoffs vote set for Tues. owners call (NFL.com) Sessler: 3 teams that could crash the playoff party (NFL.com) Bolts’ Taylor wants to ‘turn heads’ as starting QB (NFL.com) Roundup: Colts agree to terms with CB T.J. Carrie (NFL.com) Stat forecast for 4 notable RBs: 19 TDs for Gurley? (NFL.com) Three classic games air tonight on NBCSN, ESPN (NFL.com) Houston & Collegiate Sports Harden My Take - Top 50 Rockets of All-Time - Part 3 (The Dream Shake)

  • The Film Room: Zach Baun Is The Next Great Wisconsin Pass Rusher
    by Texans Thoughts on March 30, 2020 at 7:00 pm

    Why Zack Baun is perfect for the Texans J.J. Watt, T.J. Watt and Derek Watt. Wisconsin is lucky to be the home ground of the accomplished Watt trilogy. Two are elite pass rushers (Derek’s probably no slouch either) who scare every quarterback and offensive lineman in the NFL. Offenses are forced to gameplan for these monstrous edge rushers, because if they don’t, moving the ball will be an impossible thing to accomplish. As Texans fans, we have been extremely lucky to watch J.J. Watt, demolish and terrorize every offensive lineman thrown his way. You can’t leave him one-on-one without getting your quarterback crushed into the ground. Even double teams often aren’t enough to stop the giant. The best you can do is hope and pray that J.J. will have an off day (he never does) and is going to take it easy on you (he never does). Don’t let the four letter networks deceive you, at 31 years old, J.J. Watt is still a dominant pass rusher. He might not be as athletic as his young self, but he still owns a myriad of pass rush moves, which he has the power and fluidity to execute. While J.J. is still a productive pass rusher, we need to think about the future without him and improve our pass rush immensely. Double team rate as an edge rusher (x) by pass rush win rate (overall, not just vs. double teams) as an edge rusher (y).Labeled some notables.ESPN stat, NFL Next Gen Stats data. pic.twitter.com/vDxSqfnYun— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) October 22, 2019 The chart above gives me more pain than promise. A simple explanation of the graph is that you want to be in the upper right quadrant and don’t want to be in the bottom left quadrant. While it helps support Watt’s dominance despite his age, it also shows Jadeveon Clowney’s (above Watt) destructive season despite low sack totals. While it hurts to be reminded that we traded away a generational talent for nothing (except for Jacob Martin). It hurts just as much knowing we gave Whitney Mercilus, (bottom left quadrant) one of the worst pass rushers in the NFL last year, a 4 year $54 million dollar deal. As currently standing, the Texans’ defensive line is composed of likely starters: J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus, Brandon Dunn, Angelo Blackson, Brennan Scarlett and promising backups: Jacob Martin, Charles Omenihu and Duke Ejiofor (please stay healthy). As much as I love Martin, and believe in Omenihu’s abilities to be a solid interior pass rusher, everyone knows we need to add more. This is where Zach Baun comes in. At 6’2, 238lbs, Baun is a talented outside linebacker. The Texans like their outside linebackers to have size. For example, Mercilus is 6’4, 258lbs and Scarlett is 6’4, 263lbs. While Baun is clearly a bit smaller, he plays bigger than his size and this shouldn’t be an issue. Baun’s game is built around his great athleticism, nuanced pass rush moves and his useful versatility. I never thought we’d have a chance to draft Baun, but now possessing the #40 overall pick, he could slide right into our range. If so, we should be running in that card with absolutely no hesitation. Most great pass rushers are great athletes, it gives them a natural advantage to use at their disposal. Baun may not be a generational athlete like Clowney, but his bend and burst show up when rushing the quarterback. Baun (#56) is lined up at the bottom of the screen as a stand up rusher. When the ball is snapped he flies off the line of scrimmage showing off his burst and gets into the left tackle (#78) before he can even take his third kick step. This immediately gives Baun an advantage. All he has to do is dip his shoulder, flip his hips towards the quarterback, then bend and finish the strip sack. Every time Baun steps on the field, his athleticism is apparent, but even the freakiest of athletes need some skill and pass rush moves to succeed. Baun, just like J.J. and T.J. coming out of Wisconsin, has plenty of those skills. Baun plays mind games with offensive tackles. First he’ll beat them with a speed rush as shown in the first play. Then, when the tackle is waiting for the speed rush, he’ll counter inside. On this play he takes a hard step outside to fake the speed rush. Then he fires inside, uses his right hand to swipe down the tackle’s hands and get off the block. The tackle doesn’t move his feet to recover and Baun has a clear path to the quarterback. Defeating the tackle’s hands is a necessary skill for a pass rusher and Baun is one of the best in the draft at doing so. Now that Baun has shown he can beat you outside or inside, it’s time for his go to pass rush move. Once he gets close to the tackle, he takes one step to his right, faking the inside rush, then explodes outside to his left. Finally, he swims over the tackle and swipes down at his hands, preventing him from getting pushed out of the play. He bends the corner and is one of the many Wisconsin Badgers devouring the poor quarterback. Here’s another example of Baun’s go to move, but it’s easier to see with this endzone camera view. He’s lined up on the left side, over the left tackle (#75). He makes it look so easy. He flies off the ball, takes that inside step selling the inside rush, then goes outside instead. From this angle it’s apparent how he expertly uses his hands to defeat the block. As the tackle tries to punch Baun in the chest, he uses his right hand to swipe down the tackles hands. Then Baun swims over with his left arm and holds off the tackles last resort effort to recover. Yet another strip sack for Baun. Rushing with a plan is one of the most important aspects of pass rushing. Baun always has a calculated plan on how to beat the tackle. It’s the fourth quarter. Baun has been using up the speed rush all game. Now he counters inside, and the quarterback can’t get away. As an offensive tackle going up against Baun, you have to worry about a variety of rushes: the speed rush outside, the quick inside counter move, and his go to rush, where he fakes both the speed rush and the inside counter. Baun has a wide variety of pass rush moves but he can just simply run down the middle of an offensive tackle too. Here, he flies off the ball and converts speed to power by punching the tackle right in his chest. He drives his feet, pushing the tackle into the quarterback’s face. If the ball was out half a second later he would’ve had the sack. He has athleticism and skill, but his versatility is what the NFL scouts are raving about. He’s a perfect 3-4 outside linebacker who can rush the quarterback and also cover. Here he lines up on the defensive line and takes one step forward to fake a rush. Then he drops back, reads the quarterback’s eyes, and has an easy pick 6. The Texans have needed linebackers who can cover for all of eternity and we could finally have a great one in Zack Baun. Versatility is the name of the game in the NFL and the Texans do value it quite a bit. With Romeo Crennel, we have been a multiple defense that mainly plays 3-4 front, but also plays the 4-3. We don’t know for sure what new defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver will do, but luckily Baun can fit into either scheme. On this play he is lined up at the top of the screen as a 4-3 off ball SAM linebacker (he’s on the strong side of the formation) and is forced to defend a screen. Once he reads it, he stacks the wide receiver, sheds the block, then makes the tackle and shut down the play. Baun has good instincts and play recognition; two things that are vital for a linebacker playing in space. He’s lined up at the top of the screen again, this time he drops back in coverage and is tasked with the flat zone. He notices the running back leaking out and once the quarterback looks his way, he makes a break for it. He flies downhill and makes a tough open field tackle. As great as Zach Cunningham and Benardrick McKinney are at stopping the run, they are abysmal in pass coverage and aren’t great at making these tackles in space. Thankfully, Baun is fundamentally sound and calculated with these tackles. Baun is smaller than the typical Texans’ outside linebacker, but he plays bigger than his size. Here is a perfect play that clears any apprehension. Baun is lined up at the top of the screen and the offense is running zone in his direction. He needs to set a strong edge and force the run back inside. Despite his lack of size, Baun plays this perfectly. He fires his hands into the tackle’s chest, pushing him back five yards behind the line of scrimmage. The play is dead. The running back has no where to go. Baun doesn’t make the tackle or get anything on the box score, but he definitely made this play. Here’s another example of Baun’s strong run defense. Minnesota is running the read option. As the read man, Baun’s job here is pretty simple, he needs to stay at home, not pursuing the running back or the quarterback. He also needs to squeeze down the edge, closing the gap between him and the tight end (#42). Since he does his job, he forces the quarterback to hand the ball off to the running back. Now Baun can chase down the play and make the tackle. Tough, smart, and dependable. Zack Baun combines J.J. Watt’s wide array of pass rush moves and power with T.J. Watt’s athleticism and versatility to create a very well balanced, dominant player. I have him ranked as my EDGE #3 and a top 20 player in the draft class. but currently he’s mocked as a late first round/early second round selection. Leading up to the draft, every night before I go to sleep I will put a shiny spoon under my pillow for good luck. I will wear my pajamas inside out and backwards. I will brush my teeth for exactly 56 seconds and pray that somehow Baun falls to pick #40. Will any of these random good luck charms I just made up on the spot work? Highly unlikely. But you can bet I’ll still try them, and I welcome you to try anything you can to ensure Baun falls to Houston’s early second round selection. Because if he does, we might just have the next great Wisconsin pass rusher to carry on J.J. Watt’s legacy.

  • BRB: Helping Our Friends
    by bigfatdrunk on March 30, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    Let’s rock. | Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images It’s time to help. Let’s do it. BRB, many of our sisters and brothers are financial pain because of the impact of COVID-19. Almost 3.3MM people lost their jobs in the last reporting period. Those in any sector where there is person-to-person contact, like hospitality, are being hurt the worst. Let’s help our peeps, Texans fans or not. We’re going to use Cash App to facilitate the assistance process here at BRB. It’s an app you install on your phone. All you have to do is install the app, add a user name, add a debit card, and you’re ready to go. If you can donate to help those who need it, please send cash to $bigfatdrunk. If you want to be recognized, great; just add a note when you send money. Don’t want to be recognized for your donation? No worries; I’ll keep it anonymous. I also want to be completely transparent, so I’ll be keeping a record of every cent that comes in and every cent that goes out. If you could use some help, either comment on this post, send me an email directly (my email is easy enough to guess), or @ (direct message me) on Twitter. For now, we’ll be distributing money in $200 increments as long as we can, with the hope that we can refresh the donation This here blog (shoutout to Tim) has done some fantastic things in the past for those in need. We are in unprecedented territory today. Give if you can. Take if you need. We are all in this together. Let’s do this!

  • Battle Red Radio: New Screams
    by Matt Weston on March 30, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images Are you boycotting the Texans? If so, here are five teams you can watch in the meantime. Three weeks from now, in the rubble of the apocalypse, we may look back on the DeAndre Hopkins trade and think, “Wow, that was such a great and fun time.” That’s still far away. We are still at a place where the DeAndre Hopkins trade hurts, and the package of the 40th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, David Johnson, and a fourth round pick swap makes it even worse. Some will boycott the Houston Texans until Bill O’Brien is gone (if that ever happens). In the meantime, those fans will be lost and hopeless, spending Sunday afternoons going for walks, reading books, canning beets, or finishing the roof to the tool shed they never quite got around to. Dang. That sounds really nice actually. Others will still watch football and are left sifting through the ashes. We are here to help the latter group, those who are committed to football watching but don’t know where to turn. For those lost souls, we have eight fish bowls for you to swim in. Topics include Tom Bay, Exotic Joe the Tiger King, what the Cowboys have to offer, Miami schadenfreude, and Teddy Bridgewater redemption. Let’s start the show. Listen to the direct link here. Listen to the embedded player below. While you’re at it, give it a five star review and subscribe below. You can subscribe/listen on iTunes here. You can subscribe/listen on Android/Google here. You can subscribe/listen on Spotify here. You can subscribe/listen on Stitcher here.

 

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