Watt, Foster only part of Houston 'problem'


Watt, Foster only part of Houston 'problem'

There are two players people always mention when jawing about the Texans.
One, on defense, is J.J. Watt.
Nobody in the NFL had more sacks in the regular season than Watt's 20.5. Throw in 16 passes defensed, four forced fumbles, and 42 quarterback hits, and you've got a guy who can really disrupt offenses.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick knows it as well as anyone else. He also knows it takes more than one player to make a Top 10 defense.
"Hes a great player, dont get me wrong. Hes made more big plays than probably anybody defensively this year in the league," he said. "But Antonio Smith, Brooks Reed, Connor Barwin, Whitney Mercilus, they have a lot of other good players too. Watt is a focal point on that defense no question, but you cant ignore the other guys either, theyre all part of the problem."
On the other side of the ball is Arian Foster.
The Texans running back led the AFC in carries (351) and touchdowns (15), and was second in yards (1,424) during the 2012 regular season.Another tremendously talented player for Houston; another "problem." But again, to Belichick, Foster is important as a key cog within the larger machine.
"Not only the yards that he gains but how the running game controls the game for them, how it sets up their play-action passes, how it puts them in third-and-short situations. Theres no question that hes the key guy for Houston and their offense, but his production also complements the other players as well and the other parts of the game.
"Hes playing behind three Pro Bowl guys on the offensive line with Chris Myers, Wade Smith and Duane Brown. I think he also does a good job of making yards on his own and hes got good blockers in front of him. There are a number of problems they present offensively: the quarterback, the tight ends, big receivers, a great receiver in Andre Johnson, strong running game, good offensive line, theyre well coached theyre very good in all those areas."
Belichick got specific when spreading the love around.
Tight end Garrett Graham, out with a concussion in Week 14, is another body Houston will have at its disposal on Sunday. His numbers (28 catches for 263 yards and three touchdowns) aren't impressive on their own, but just having him on the field multiplies the Texans offense.
"I think one thing is it gives them the opportunity to put three offensive weapons on the field at once. Thats something they really werent able to do in our game. The difference between Graham and fullback James Casey tight end Owen Daniels is out there most of the time but Graham and Casey, theyre both good players and they complement each other too. They can have all of them out of there together or they can pick one or the other and use their strengths.
"It gives them more weapons and theyre able to change up some of their looks or change up their personnel groupings and get them all out there together. Theyre all good players so its a different matchup, one we prepared for in our first game, we just didnt get it."
Preparing for every possibility is truly the problem.

Thursday, Oct. 27: Chara top D-man on All-Graybeard team


Thursday, Oct. 27: Chara top D-man on All-Graybeard team

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while saying RIP Vine but not really feeling it since it’s a rabbit hole I never really delved down into. 

*Down Goes Brown celebrates the “NHL’s old guys”, and yes, that means a gratuitous shout out to Zdeno Chara as the top defenseman on the All-Graybeard squad. 

*Hampus Lindholm has signed a long term deal with the Anaheim Ducks, so now that deal leaves everybody to wonder who is leaving the Anaheim roster in the eventual salary cap crunch. It will be interesting to see if this hastens any Cam Fowler trade talk as far as the Bruins are concerned because it looks like they need the help.  

*Pro Hockey Talk has the Oilers off to their best start since the Wayne Gretzky Era and people in Edmonton finally getting to see the hockey they’ve been waiting for over the past few years. 

*In honor of the Halloween season that we’re in, here are a few cool and scary goalie masks with a bit of spooky flair. 

*Arizona Coyotes GM John Chayka is confident that his young team is going to rebound after a rough start to the season. 

*Speaking of creative uniforms, it’s a most wonderful time of the year for hockey when they bust out their Oktoberfest sweaters. 

*For something completely different: this matchup of Peanuts and Stranger Things hits all the right notes for fans of both. 


Van Noy: 'I was shocked" to be traded from Lions to Patriots

Van Noy: 'I was shocked" to be traded from Lions to Patriots

FOXBORO -- It's not often that NFL teams make deals before the trade deadline. Seeing starters get dealt before the deadline is a veritable rarity. It's no wonder linebacker Kyle Van Noy, who started in all seven Lions games this season, reacted the way he did when he was dealt to the Patriots earlier this week.

"I was shocked to go from starting there to traded," Van Noy said during his first back-and-forth with Patriots reporters. "I was shocked. I respect everybody with the Detroit Lions, they'll all be my guys there. Just grateful for the opportunity to come here and get it going."

Van Noy has been working closely with Patriots linebackers and linebackers coach Brian Flores since his arrival, even getting some last-minute notes from Flores before meeting with reporters and heading out to Thursday's practice. 

The 6-foot-3, 243-pounder wasn't completely unfamiliar with the operation in New England before being sent to Foxboro along with a seventh-round pick in exchange for a sixth-rounder. He admitted he had "a lot" of contact with the Patriots before being taken in the second round by Detroit.  

Now he's playing "catch-up" to learn the Patriots playbook, which could include learning multiple positions within the team's defense. He played mostly as an off-the-line linebacker in Detroit, but when he entered into the league out of BYU, he was considered to have the tools to be a productive pass-rusher as a pro. 

Van Noy, who lost about 15 pounds going into this season, indicated that the Lions didn't get the most out of him because of how he was used. 

"I mean, they didn't know where to put me," he said. "Here, they want me here, and I'm happy to be wanted." 

Van Noy was injured for much of his rookie season and had a hard time making an impact last year. He was relied upon to fill a more substantial role this season, playing in 60 percent of the team's defensive snaps. It's unclear just how Van Noy will fit in as a member of the Patriots, but he says he's willing to do whatever it takes to work his way back up another depth chart.

"I'm here now, and I'm gonna do whatever they have me [do], and whatever they want my weight to be at," he said. "Whatever they want me to do I'm gonna do it because I want to win and be part of this team."