Part one of our weekly series where fans can get the low-down on the Texans next opponent from an…
What Have You Done... Acquisitions
So, this is week three and it's time to look into, "what have you done for us lately" since you were a free agent or worth trading for?
We'll also see who should be looking for their baseball cap for some time on the bench.
Finally, who is winning the battle of the Eastern Illinois University coach's competition? There are three eligible from this new cradle of coaches: Mike Shanahan, Brad Childress and Sean Payton, each spent formative days in Charleston, Illinois at EIU.
What have you done for me lately since you were worth trading for or picking up as a free agent?
#1 Javon Walker (Wide Receiver, 6-3 209, Denver Broncos, acquired in a trade with the Green Bay Packers for a 2nd round draft choice in the 2006 draft)
Walker was the big play guy this week against the Patriots on two huge plays. This was Walker's coming out as a Bronco, and it showed why the coaches made him a priority in the off season.
He's a big receiver with good speed, and he uses his hands and body well to get open to make plays. He didn't show any signs of his old knee injury as he out ran the Pats defensive backs to the end zone. If he becomes consistent as a route runner, blocker and receiver, he should return to the Pro Bowl level of play he showed in 2004.
#2 Jeff Faine (Center, 6-3 291, New Orleans Saints, acquired in a trade with the Cleveland Browns for a 2nd round pick in the 2006 draft)
Being strong up the middle isn't just a baseball axiom. Faine gives the Saints a very good center to go with Brees at QB and McAllister and Bush at running back.
Faine is obviously the so called "quarterback" of the offensive line, and when I watch him play there's no doubt. He is a leader and communicates to his line well, which with this new group is vital.
He did a great job getting to the 2nd level to block the linebackers versus the Falcons and showed his excellent feet. His ability to play fast and quick helped the Saints slow down a pretty good defense. Jeff does a nice job of using his hands and toughness to win the street fight in the trenches. The consistent play of this future Pro Bowler bodes well for the future of the organization.
#3 Junior Seau (Inside Linebacker, 6-3 250, New England Patriots, signed as a free agent from the Miami Dolphins)
His motor and instincts are as great as ever. He can still scrape and plug with the best of them, giving the team another force in the middle along with Bruschi. What's fun to watch when Junior plays is his ability to read the play and knowing what's coming-often beating the ball to the hole.
Where he may have lost a step in his pass drops he makes up for with such great effort and hustle. Seau is still a "sideline to sideline" player but is really good between the tackles at the end of his career. The New England fans are fortunate to be able to watch this great player before he retires again.
#4 Daunte Culpepper (Quarterback, 6-4 264, Miami Dolphins, acquired in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings for a 2nd round draft pick in 2006)
Culpepper has the experience and play making ability that the Dolphins needed to go along with a potentially good running game. He also brings some baggage. The knee injury from last year may be a double edge sword; initially he may not be as mobile as he has been in the past, but on the other hand he may try to get rid of the ball sooner to protect himself. We'll see.
In their game against the Titans, Culpepper was a mixed bag. He didn't have any interceptions, which is good for him; on the other hand he was sacked 5 more times and fumbled once. However a win is a win!
The problem he still has is his ability to read coverages. In Minnesota, he had Randy Moss and faced cover 2 defenses. Teams had to bracket Moss so they didn't have the flexibility to mix up their defense. In Miami, he is without Moss which puts the pressure back on him to make good decisions and get rid of the ball on time.
Culpepper still has a big arm and is a terrific athlete. He's one of the games top players and is a threat to take over any game.
#5 Wayne Gandy (Left Tackle, 6-4 315, Atlanta Falcons, acquired through a trade with the New Orleans Saints for safety Bryan Scott and an unconditional draft pick)
The resurgence of the offense prior to the Saints game was because the O-Line was able to maintain their blocks and move the line of scrimmage. On Monday night, New Orleans won the battle in the trenches.
In my opinion, the Falcons were in a no-win situation, and the emotion of the game overcame them. I'm expecting the Falcons to rebound and make a run to the playoffs. Gandy will help be a big part of this.
Wayne is the crafty old veteran and uses his huge tree trunk arms to neutralize most ends he faces. He was doing a lot of reaching and grabbing the other night doing hand to hand combat. He doesn't have the same quickness that he used to so, the grabbing will come in handy. What he can do is lock on to the defender, and this allows the athletes behind him to find the hole.
Who should be looking for their baseball cap?
#1 Jeremy Shockey (Tight End, 6-5 253, New York Giants)
What a baby… he needs a spanking or a time out! When a player's attitude and temper becomes an issue there's a problem.
Shockey is a talented guy and a great competitor. On this, I'm sure we all agree however, his continued outbursts take away from the team's chemistry. It makes the head coach and his position coach have to appease him…then everyone has to answer all the questions about the situation. It's a waste of time better spent preparing for the next game.
#1A Plaxico Burress (Wide Receiver, 6-5 226, New York Giants)
His pouting on the sideline Sunday, in addition to his lack of concentration on the field, directly contributed to the Giants getting in a huge hole that they never got out of. Is it too much to ask a player to forget about himself and focus on helping the team in other ways when he's having an off day catching the ball.
#3 Kurt Warner (Quarterback, 6-2 200, Arizona Cardinals)
As an old center, it's important to point out that there's no doubt where the blame lies for a bad center/quarterback exchange. As a veteran however, how do you not get the snap from center with the game on the line? He also had 3 picks, which we always blame the QB for. So, all in all, it was a bad day for Kurt.
#4 Kerry Collins (Quarterback, 6-5 245, Tennessee Titans)
This is not Collins' fault … he's on a team in a rebuilding mode. They're now 0-3 and not going anywhere this season. What about next year? Vince can do it!
Battle of the Eastern Illinois University (the new cradle of NFL coaches) coaching competition:
#1 Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints:
It must be great to be a Saint! They are making all the right calls and plays, and they handled the emotion and distractions of their return to the Superdome. Coach Payton is the reason for all of this as he sets the tone and attitude of the team. He's established himself as an up and coming star in the coaching ranks.
#2 Mike Shanahan, Denver Broncos:
The system is back … I told you it would be. Their win in New England was vintage Shanahan. He doesn't panic; he trusts his players and his staff. The Broncos will be a playoff team and might make a run again at the Super Bowl.
#3 Brad Childress, Minnesota Vikings:
Childress did another great job of preparing his team for the Bears' game and almost came away with a win. This is a good football team and Coach Childress will give them a chance to win every game.
See you after week four.
Randy Taylor is Director of NFL Experts for Scout.com
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