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2017 NFL Draft – Top 200 FEATURED LINK

Featured Houston Texans Article

Hey Texans Fans

Here’s some info that I think you will like taking a look at.

2017 NFL Draft – Top 200

QUARTERBACKS

1. Patrick Mahomes

2. DeShaun Watson

3. Mitchell Trubisky

4. Davis Webb

5. Nathan Peterman

6. Brad Kaaya

7. DeShone Kizer

8. Joshua Dobbs

9. Chad Kelley

10. Jerod Evans

RUNNING BACKS

1. Leonard Fournette

2. Christian McCaffrey

3. Joe Mixon

4. D’Onta Foreman

6. Alvin Kamara

7. Jeremy McNichols

8. Brian Hill

9. Wayne Gallman

10. Kareem Hunt

11. Joe Williams

12. Samaje Perine

13. Jamaal Williams

14. James Conner

15. T. J. Logan

WIDE RECEIVERS

1. Corey Davis

2. John Ross

3. Zay Jones

4. Chris Godwin

5. Mike Williams

6. Curtis Samuel

7. Cooper Kupp

8. JuJu Smith-Schuster

9. K. D. Cannon

10. DeDe Westbrook

11. Robert Davis

12. Amara Darboh

13. Josh Reynolds

14. Carlos Henderson

15. Josh Malone

16. Chad Williams

17. Jehu Chesson

18. Taywan Taylor

19. Ryan Switzer

20. Mack Hollins

21. ArDarius Stewart

22. Stacy Coley

23. Malachi Dupre

24. Donnel Pumphrey

25. Kenny Golladay

TIGHT ENDS

1. O. J. Howard

2. Evan Engram

3. David Njoku

4. Bucky Hodges

5. George Kittle

6. Gerald Everett

7. Jordan Leggett

8. Jonnu Smith

9. Jake Butt

10. Adam Shaheen

11. Taysom Hill

12. Jeremy Sprinkle

13. Trevor Knight

14. Tyrone Swoopes

15. Cethan Carter

OFFENSIVE GUARDS

1. Taylor Moton

2. Dan Feeney

3. Jermaine Eluemunor

4. Ben Braden

5. Nico Siragusa

6. Antonio Garcia

7. Sean Harlow

8. Isaac Asiata

9. David Sharpe

10. Jordan Morgan

11. Dorian Johnson

13. Jessamen Dunker

14. Ethan Cooper

15. Jordan Simmons

OFFENSIVE TACKLES

1. Forrest Lamp

2. Garett Bolles

3. Cam Robinson

4. Ryan Ramczyk

5. Dion Dawkins

6. Conor McDermott

7. Roderick Johnson

8. Aviante Collins

9. Sam Tevi

10. J. J. Dielman

11. Julie’n Davenport

12. Will Holden

CENTERS

1. Ethan Pocic

2. Pat Elfein

3. Corey Levin

4. Tyler Orlosky

5. Kyle Fuller

6. Chase Roullier

4-3 DEFENSIVE ENDS

1. Myles Garrett

2. Solomon Thomas

3. Carl Lawson

4. Derek Barnett

5. Charles Harris

6. Tarell Basham

7. Daeshon Hall

8. Dawuane Smoot

9. Hunter Dimick

10. Ryan Anderson

11. Joe Mathis

12. Bryan Cox, Jr.

13. Noble Nwachukwu

14. Tashawn Bower

15. Keionta Davis

16. Ifeadi Odenigbo

NOSE TACKLES

1. Elijah Qualls

2. Carlos Watkins

3. D. J. Jones

4. Dalvin Tomlinson

5. Davon Godchaux

6. Jordan Wade

7. Charles Walker

8. Jaleel Johnson

9. Stevie Tu’ikolovatu

10. Kelsey Griffen


3-4 OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

1. Jordan Willis

2. Takkarist McKinley

3. Tim Williams

4. Trey Hendrickson

5. Derek Rivers

6. T. J. Watt

7. Tyus Bowser

8. Vince Biegel

9. Harvey Langi

10. Josh Carraway

11. Carroll Phillips

12. Pita Taumoepenu

DEFENSIVE TACKLES

1. Jonathan Allen

2. Malik McDowell

3. Taco Charlton

4. Chris Wormley

5. DeMarcus Walker

6. Montravius Adams

7. Vincent Taylor

8. Jeremiah Ledbetter

9. Tanoh Kpassagnon

10. Larry Ogunjobi

11. Caleb Brantley

12. Ryan Glasgow

INSIDE LINEBACKERS

1. Reuben Foster

2. Haason Reddick

3. Raekwon McMillan

4. Jarrad Davis

5. Zach Cunningham

6. Anthony Walker, Jr.

7. Alex Anzalone

8. Duke Riley

9. Jordan Evans

10. Elijah Lee

11. Matt Milano

12. Tanner Vallejo

13. Kendell Beckwith

14. Josh Harvey-Clemons

15. Ben Boulware

16. Blair Brown

17. Jayon Brown

18. Hardy Nickerson

19. Dylan Cole

20. Riley Bullough

21. Ben Gedeon

22. Steven Taylor


CORNERBACKS

1. Marshon Lattimore

2. Adoree’ Jackson

3. Chidobe Awuzie

4. Gareon Conley

5. Marlon Humphrey

6. Fabian Moreau

7. Shaquill Griffin

8. Kevin King

9. Sidney Jones

10. Tre’davious White

11. Jalen Myrick

12. Cordrea Tankersley

13. Ahkello Witherspoon

14. Jourdan Lewis

15. Cameron Sutton

16. Damontae Kazee

17. Brandon Wilson

18. Quincy Wilson

19. Ezra Robinson

20. Howard Wilson

21. Brian Allen

22. Brendan Langley

23. Teez Tabor

24. Michael Davis

25. Sojourn Shelton

FREE SAFETIES

1. Malik Hooker

2. Marcus Williams

3. Budda Baker

4. Eddie Jackson

5. Desmond King

6. Chuck Clark

7. Delano Hill

8. Corbin McCarthy

9. Johnathan Ford

STRONG SAFETIES

1. Jamal Adams

2. Jabrill Peppers

3. Obi Melifonwu

4. Josh Jones

5. Justin Evans

6. John Johnson

7. Marcus Maye

8. Xavier Woods

9. Tedric Thompson

10. Rayshawn Jenkins

11. Nate Gerry

12. Shalom Luani

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Top 6 QBs in 2017 NFL Draft with profiles, overall rank, and player comparisons FEATURED POST

Featured Houston Texans Article

Hello Houston Faithful

Here’s an article that I think you will like taking a glimpse at.

Top 6 QBs in 2017 NFL Draft with profiles, overall rank, and player comparisons

I just finished my top 100 draft rankings and profiles. I thought I would throw it up here and see what other people thought. I watched at least 3 full games of film for each prospect and the top ones many more. Positional rankings are followed by overall rankings in parenthesis.

*Spoiler alert- I am not an air raid system fan when it comes to transitioning to the NFL.

QB1 (16) Deshaun Watson- Clemson 6’3″ 221 -4.67

21yrs old. #1 Dual Threat QB in high school out of Gainesville, GA. Excellent decision maker that plays his best in high pressure situations. Good to great footwork. Simple route tree and easy reads for passing doesn’t get past 2nd read very much. His best throw is the back shoulder fade. Has no problem throwing 50-50 balls. Steps up in the pocket well while keeping his eyes down field. Does not take unnecessary hits except in National Championship game. Good anticipation and leads his receivers open. Does not get sacked often at all. Major concern is large number of interceptions. The definition of a winner with zero character concerns. Will be able to contribute early in career. Highest floor of the class but does not have as high a ceiling as Kizer, Trubisky, or Mahomes.

Player comparison: Best case is Kirk Cousins arm with Russell Wilson moves and game savvy. Worst case is Alex Smith’s first 5 years of his career.

QB2 (35) Deshone Kizer- Notre Dame 6’4’’ 233 -4.89

Gets through progressions well. Not the strongest of arms but better than average. Keeps his eyes downfield while under pressure, he sees the entire field. Plays very calm and collected but seems to let mistakes stack up on top of each other. But when he is on he stays on for a while, very streaky on positive and negative side. More than capable runner and throws well on the run. Consistently comes up short at the end of the game. When he does hit the deep ball it is a thing of beauty but his accuracy on the short and intermediate throws is atrocious. Much better in 2015 than 2016 and when he lost Will Fuller his game changed. Couldn’t bring his team to be bowl eligible. If you draft him it is 100% based on projection and physical skill set. He will not be ready to play for at least a year.

Player comparison: Teddy Bridgewater with a better throwing motion and stronger arm but less accuracy

QB3 (43) Mitch Trubisky- North Carolina 6’2’’ 222 -4.67

Dual Threat QB coming out of high school in Cleveland and has been vocal about wanted to play in his hometown. Only 1 year as a starter. Huge arm and puts crazy rotation on the ball. Can easily make every NFL throw. Sub-par pocket awareness seems to take a lot of unnecessary sacks. Footwork breaks down under pressure and seems to throw off his back foot a lot. Eyes drop when under pressure and looks to run instead of looking downfield. He can extend the play with his legs fairly well but doesn’t seem accurate when on the move. 30-6 TD-Int ratio and is very safe with the ball when passing, but seems too careless when running with the ball. Routine throws are constantly off the mark resulting in incompletions or difficult catches for wide open receivers. Seems to be at his best when his team is down but doesn’t play like a winning QB.

Player comparison: Blake Bortles

QB4 (64) Nathan Peterman- Pitt 6’2″ 226 -4.82

Went to Tennessee and lost the job to Joshua Dobbs after he broke his hand. Graduated early and transferred to Pitt. Average in almost all areas physically. A++ pocket awareness and poise under pressure. Not a huge arm but still likes to throw the deep ball. Great understanding of coverages and is probably the most pro ready but has a very low ceiling.

Player comparison: Alex Smith is his ceiling and Matt Moore is his floor.

QB5 (86) Patrick Mahomes- Texas Tech 6’2″ 225 -4.80

Father was a major league pitcher. Good athlete and had 22 rushing touchdowns. Crazy strong arm who threw an 80 yard in the air ball on his pro day. Great confidence and attitude. System QB that does not translate to NFL and is a major project. Back yard football player that makes plays out of nothing and turns bad plays into the worst plays. Makes the worst decisions ever on a consistent basis. Worst footwork I have ever seen. When he makes a play though it is amazing.

Player comparison: Jay Cutler

QB6 (95) Davis Webb- Cal 6’5″ 229 -4.79

Beat out Baker Mayfield at Texas Tech and then lost to Patrick Mahomes. Transferred to Cal. Huge arm that can make all the throws. Throws a lot of 50/50 balls and leads the safety to the ball with his eyes way too much. Played in two different systems that do not translate to NFL well. Coaches kid with great character and leadership. Major project. Bad footwork and just a catch and pitch type passing system. Almost all passes within 10 yards and then a bomb. 5 overthrows in a row against Stanford. At his best when throwing the deep ball to the sideline vs cover 2.

Player comparison: Nick Foles is his ceiling

I had Josh Dobbs outside of my top 100.

Poll
Who is your #1 QB?






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Saturday Night’s Alright For Commenting: April 22, 2017 FEATURED ARTICLE

Featured Houston Article

Hello Houston Faithful

Here Is a tidbit that I think you will enjoy taking a look at.

Saturday Night’s Alright For Commenting: April 22, 2017

Tax time is over, Easter is gone, time for summer to get here!

Took my first trip to Corpus Christi recently and discovered something awesome. Not only are there a lot of Texans fans in the Coastal Bend, but you can drive on the beach.

Yes, that’s right, check your Battle Red Blog Twitter feed and learn all about the latest mock draft, read what Rick Smith had to say, or learn how you can tour the Museum of Failure while carrying your hip and trendy, yet insanely overpriced Ikea shopping bag all while driving in the surf!

Doesn’t matter if you have a slammed Honda Civic that can barely drive around Houston in the rain without capsizing, all you need is a beach permit to race the waves on the Gulf.

But, since this is the official Saturday Night Open Thread, you can also talk amongst yourselves about things entirely unrelated to beach cruising.

Or you can just talk about sports…

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FEATURED BLOG POST: 2017 NFL Draft: Deshaun Watson Scouting Report

Featured Houston Article

Hey Houston Faithful

Here Is a tidbit that I think you will enjoy taking a peek at.

2017 NFL Draft: Deshaun Watson Scouting Report

Matt Weston continues watching 2017 NFL Draft eligible quarterbacks. This time it’s Deshaun Watson.

Deshaun Watson is the best quarterback entering the 2017 NFL draft right now. This is a good, yet confusing thing. It’s good because he was great in college, but it’s confusing because it’s entirely possible that he has maxed out his potential. Traditionally, it is difficult to take someone with this unique skill set and toss him out into the murky world of NFL schemes.

Watson has the best understanding of the position out of his colleagues. All of the subtleties of quarterback play are here: pocket presence, anticipation, recognition, ball placement, and scrambling ability. His contemporaries maybe better at one of these individual components than him, but overall, he’s far and away the best at being an actual quarterback instead of just being a young man with an arm. The conundrum is he has issues throwing the football. Which is, you know, the requirement of the position.

Of all the soft skills that Watson exudes, anticipation is what he’s best at. Clemson was great at calling plays to attack certain coverages. Watson came up to the line of scrimmage, gained an understanding of the defense, figured out the route he liked, examined the way the defense reacted, and attacked from there. When the ball came out of his hand the receiver was consistently already out of his break. Receivers were facing defenders with the ball already coming towards them. They’d turn, and boom, the ball is in their chest.

This is NFL quarterbacking. If you throw it to someone when he’s open, chances are it’s already too late. If you are throwing to a player instead of a spot, chances are the pass is going to be inaccurate. Watson’s game is constructed from the foundation of these two sentences.

Alabama is playing cover one. They have one safety deep and are playing man everywhere else. The linebacker is spying the quarterback by playing zone in the short middle part of the field. Pre-snap, Watson sees that his slot receiver is running a slant against a monster sized safety. He’s slower than his receiver and he’s playing five yards off him. And since this route is run towards Watson it has the potential to be an easy short throw.


His receiver takes one step into his break. Watson sees the safety take one step backwards. This is the only sign he needs. The ball is on the way out.


He puts the pass on the outside shoulder. The receiver shields the safety from the ball with his body. Additionally, the linebacker coming to the center of the field is in perfect position to make a play on this ball, but Watson never saw him. He assumed he was in man coverage, and never looks his way again. However, because he recognizes his receiver being open instantly, and gets the ball out this quickly, it completely takes the linebacker out of the play.


One of the other aspects of this skill Watson excels at is his knowledge of spatial dimensions. He knows how much space he needs to make throws. He understands his arm and his receivers well. Watson knows the minimum amount of space his receiver needs to be open. This, plus quick recognition, opens up the entire field to concrete possibilities.

Clemson is in a 0x0x5 package. Watson is in the shotgun all alone. Ohio State is countering with cover three. The difference is the strong safety takes off to the center of the field, and the free safety comes down to play the shallow zone.


Immediately, Watson sees the corner take a zone turn and takes off down field. None of the short crossing routes are going to be an option. He sees a yard of space and the cornerback carrying onward. The ball is already on the way out. Watson knows his receiver is going to be wide open once he cuts his route off.


The receiver turns around with three yards of space between him and the cornerback. The ball is right on him.


Here, pre-snap it looks like Oklahoma is in man coverage with two safeties back, and the possibility of the linebacker blitzing. Instead they drop into cover three. The right cornerback turns and runs to take the left deep third. The strong safety slides over to the center of the field, and the free safety slides over to the right sideline. The receiver catching this pass is running a post route.


Watson reads the field deep to short. He watches the safety first and sees him slide over to the center of the field; he now has the space to throw the post.


From there Watson checks on the cornerback. He has outside leverage over the receiver, so the post is going to eventually be open inside. And as Watson sees the safety slide further out of the corner of this eye, he knows exactly where he needs to place the ball.


Like the previous plays, the ball is on the way out before the receiver makes his break. Watson knows he has it. Additionally, he’s still looking downfield despite the free rusher in his face – he never takes his eyes off the coverage. The threat of a potential hit doesn’t cause him to adjust his throw, and it doesn’t cause him to prematurely take off with his mobility.


The ball is placed perfectly between the cornerback and safety.


This anticipation and ability to read the field quickly is next level quarterbacking. Watson doesn’t need time, wide open receivers, or manufactured route combinations to complete easy passes. He does it with pre-snap intelligence, a quick release, and a knowledge of the game. Watson needs no time at all to move the football.

Because of this, Watson is a great short thrower. He converts third and fives with ease like a trapeze artist. He puts the ball on target leading to yards after the catch. And it leads to pass rushers never getting into a rhythm because the drops are quick and forever changing.

On longer drop backs he is always in control of the pocket. Like Mahomes, he can escape from meteor showers unscathed, but unlike Mahomes, there is a reason for the insanity. The sky isn’t falling at the threat of a rusher. Watson doesn’t aimlessly hang back and force himself to escape from a hole he fell into. He climbs the pocket with eyes downfield at all times. When he is forced to jump and jolt around, it’s only because there is no other option. Through the calamity he breaks tackles and slips out of manacles, and all the while, he does it looking to complete passes downfield. He doesn’t leave the pocket to run. He leaves to throw.

This play gives an idea of the disastrous fates he can escape. Both the defensive tackle and defensive end get free. Both are converging into him like some archaic execution. Instead he maneuvers away from the metaphorical scythe by ducking underneath both rushers, and gets away without his knee scraping the ground. The one error in his judgement is not throwing the ball away. Instead Watson is sacked for a two yard loss rather than nine. Still, this is like having a gag in your mouth while unbuckling a straight jacket with your teeth.

With his feet he can pull defenders into him and open up routes for completions. Watson fakes the play action and rolls left. The linebacker peels off the running back and comes untethered after him. Since he doesn’t run wide, and runs into the box, the safety comes downhill too. This leaves the running back open. With two defenders fixing to obliterate him, he takes a step back and flips the ball to the running back. Wide open. The ball carrier turns a two yard loss into a first down.

Watson is a great thrower on the run too. Alabama’s running a stunt on the interior of the line of scrimmage. The hammer gets free. Watson cuts right past him, and above the defensive end to his right. He has an easy five yards available to him. But rather than take off, he keeps his eyes downfield. His receiver turns his post into a drag and comes back towards his quarterback. Watson whips the pass to his man, which takes Clemson past midfield.

When Watson is forced to run as a last resort, he turns desperate situations into positive gains. In this instance, Alabama is playing zone coverage. Every route is covered. And Watson is facing interior pressure. Calmly Watson pump fakes and turns the defensive tackle into a sticky summer roller coaster passenger. The defender leaps to bat the pass. Watson sidesteps him and finds a seam in the line of scrimmage. The field is open since every defender downfield is stuck in coverage. He saunters for a first down like nothing happened.

And when situations turn horrifying, he doesn’t just run away from them. He will sit in the pocket and deliver great throws while explosions fix to detonate all around him. Auburn brings seven here, and Clemson only has six in to block. Watson drops back farther than he planned to create space, and buys himself fractions of seconds. His eyes are always downfield. Before becoming an orange streak on the ground, he unleashes an incredible pass to the corner of the endzone, making an “OMG” throw before his receiver even finishes his break.

It doesn’t all have to stem from calamity, though. Sometimes Watson floats with the tide. He goes with the flow of the game and follows the play where it leads him. In a clustered pocket, Watson crawls up looking for something. The alarm in his head is going off. He knows time is limited. Rather than sit around and wait and to see what happens, Watson takes off and accidentally escapes two rushers to pick up this devastating third down conversion.

Clemson’s National Championship winning quarterback doesn’t pick up hundred-yard rushing games purely through scrambles. They ran a variety of leads, counters, and zone reads to get Watson going in the run game. As a runner, Watson has great acceleration and vision. He bursts like a change of pace back, and has incredible patience in his running style.

In his own endzone, he reads the defensive tackle. If he sits in the hole or comes down the line of scrimmage, Watson keeps it. If he chases Watson, he hands it off. The boulder rolls slightly to the left, and Watson keeps it and runs past him. From there he blasts off, cutting past a flat-footed safety, bounces to the right inside, and soars until he is caught from behind.

This keeper off a fullback lead is the type of cut running backs make. As he follows his lead blocker, the safety comes downhill. Watson doesn’t think. He unconsciously makes his left foot plant and bounce, an action without words, and he walks into the endzone.

Watson’s athleticism gives an offense multitudes. Rushing attacks can come from multiple players in single back sets. Shallow zone defenders have to cover with one eye on their assignment and the other on the quarterback. Rushers have to commit to bringing him down while understanding he can flip the pass at any moment. And even when he’s cornered, he’s able to wriggle away in a puff of smoke.

Right now Watson is the almost perfect quarterback. He reads the field, throws into coverage with success, anticipates his receivers being open, places the ball in the perfect spot, laughs at pressure, makes throws with defenders in his face, throws on the run, and is always in control of the pocket. The problem is actually tossing the old pigskin around.

Watson has trouble making throws to either sideline. When throwing out routes he has to put air on the ball to get it over the defensive line. If the lineman is in any position to bat the pass, Watson is forced to raise it. This leads to open receivers watching uncatchable passes wobble out of bounds.

With a defensive end in his face, he misses an easy throw where the receiver has seven yards of separation from the cornerback.

When he pulls his arm back to throw, the ball sits behind his ear. It’s low, and the ball comes out from right behind his shoulder. At 6’2” it’s not like he’s playing on top of a mountain. He’s already at a disadvantage, and his release makes things worse.


Sometimes he doesn’t get this lucky and passes are batted into the ground or up into the air. He had the most passes in the NCAA batted down with thirteen via Pro Football Focus. Against amateurs this is more of a lump on a smooth landscape, but in the pros defensive linemen will sit on his pass attempts and force these highrisers, and coverages will be used to soak up the center of the field.

The other is throwing passes downfield and with velocity. Watson isn’t very good at pushing the ball deep. He has trouble finding the spot between long overthrows, and short hangers.

Here he rolls right. He stops his feet and gathers himself to throw somewhat stationary. His receiver is wide open. Watson simply throws the ball too far.

Here he has an open fade down the right side of the field. Watson releases the ball when he needs to. He just underthrows it and lofts it. Allowing the burnt cornerback to take a knife to himself and scrape the ball.

Or this pass that should have been intercepted.

Arm strength is an issue too. Most of his completions are nice and sweet. Passes perfect because of anticipation and placement, not velocity. When he doesn’t release passes at the perfect moment it pulls defenders into the play regardless of the read. His margin of error is slimmer than double figures.

In the redzone against Oklahoma, Watson makes the correct read. It’s cover two. The corner punches the slot receiver running a corner route, and allows him to run past him. At this point the ball needs to be gone, or Watson is going to have to blast this pass. Instead he hangs onto the ball. It is released after the receiver makes his break. The safety comes over the top and nearly intercepts the pass in the endzone.

Arm strength is overrated. Quarterbacks who understand and know how to play the game can get by without carrying a Statcast-breaking four seamer. Players like Watson can have success because of everything else they do so well. That being said, there needs to be a bare minimum of arm strength. If he doesn’t meet it, he’s simply unplayable.

And I think Watson meets this bare minimum. When Watson plants and puts every inch of himself into a throw he can deliver some screamers. This rollout to the right where he plants and throws his entire body into the pass is a perfect example. The ball scorches past the leaping defensive back, and opens up the field for the receiver to walk into the endzone.

Or this stationary throw where he brings everything he has.

Or this out route he sticks, but doesn’t complete, because his receiver breaks short of the sideline.

I don’t think he’s unplayable because of these throws. He should be perfectly fine. And despite the problems throwing downfield, I think he throws intermediate routes to the center of the field, and back shoulder fades well enough, that he can survive and thrive without having to consistently hit deep passes. .

That’s where Watson is right now. But the entire point of scouting for the NFL draft is to project collegiate performance into the NFL’s future. That’s the confusing part of Watson for me. Is this it? He’s going to have to improve to be a successful quarterback. And I have something instinctual bellowing at me that Watson has already peaked. I don’t see his arm strength improving, or him becoming better at throwing with anticipation. I don’t know where the improvement comes from.

Is this an irrational fear that stems from inexperience or a foreboding feeling? I don’t know. But I do know that Watson is already a great player and finished an incredible career at Clemson. Unease aside, he should be a successful professional player if the subtleties he plays with continues and translates directly to the next level. His arm is good enough, and he’s great at everything else, that not being the best thrower of the football is an inconvenience, not a career killer.

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Texans Links Of The Week For

  • J.J. Watt Healthy, Ready for 2017 Season after Dangerous Bout of MRSA Cellulitis

    In a one-on-one interview with Harry Dao, Jr MD, Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Dao and sports journalist Daniel Lewis discuss J.J. Watt’s dangerous episode of MRSA cellulitis and the NFL’s recent infection control efforts.

    J.J. Watt

    “Am I done?” J.J. Watt asked himself in a Players’ Tribune piece last November, reflecting on his career after a staph infection nearly cost him his leg.

    The Houston Texans’ All-Pro defensive lineman, embattled with injuries over the last two years, divulged that the infection was the most frightening health issue he had ever faced.

    “One Friday night last season, I noticed some weird bumps on my knee,” Watt wrote, “I thought it was a rash, so I went and asked our trainer if he had any cream. He looked at my knee and said, ‘That looks really bad. We have to get you to the hospital right now.’”

    The skin infection Watt experienced is known as cellulitis.

    “Cellulitis is a bacterial infection involving the skin,” explains Harry Dao, Jr. MD FAAD, Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Baylor College of Medicine.

    Cellulitis most commonly affects the lower legs. It usually only affects the skin, but if untreated, can spread to the underlying tissues, nearby lymph nodes, or the bloodstream.

    “When we suspect cellulitis, usually the main characteristics we look for are warmth, swelling, and tenderness. When we find these changes, it is very important to diagnose cellulitis early and treat it before we see serious complications.”

    The infection is usually caused by staphylococcus (“staph”) or streptococcus bacteria. Watt developed a potentially serious form of cellulitis due to a variant of staphylococcus known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

    S. aureus is widespread in the environment and can even live on the skin or inside the nose without causing illness. In fact, approximately one in every three individuals is colonized with staphylococcus, and about two of every hundred carry MRSA. MRSA is the leading cause of skin and soft tissue infections in the U.S. and is especially common in football players.

    “We often think of MRSA as a ‘superbug,’ Dao describes. “One important public health problem we currently face is overuse of antibiotics, which leads to bacterial resistance. MRSA is a big problem because we usually like to try the penicillin family of antibiotics first but now oftentimes we have to reach for the ‘big guns’ instead.”

    MRSA cellulitis is becoming more prevalent in individuals without links to hospitals. Such “community-acquired” MRSA differs from the more common hospital-acquired MRSA in that it is resistant to several antibiotic agents and produces more severe lesions, such as skin abscesses.

    Intravenous antibiotics are frequently used to treat MRSA cellulitis. But when the bacteria have spread, multiple surgeries or even amputation may be required to clear out the infected tissue.

    Watt went on to receive treatment and actually played in a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars while receiving antibiotics. He had been listed as questionable with an illness.

    “I thought [the trainer] was joking at first,” Watt reflected. “But then I could see in his face that he was serious and actually a bit panicked. As it turned out, he saved me in a big way. At the hospital, they immediately put me on three hours of the strongest antibiotic IVs. I went straight from the hospital to the team plane and we flew to Jacksonville. Once we landed, there were two more hours of antibiotics that night and two more the next morning before the game. The medicine had completely drained me, but I played—and we won.”

    “I remember walking into the locker room after the game and just collapsing on the training table. My body was completely shot, with nothing left to give. As the trainers hooked me up to an IV, one of the guys walking past joked, ‘You alive?’”

    Later that day on the flight back to Houston, Watt learned how serious MRSA cellulitis can be.

    “One of the team doctors told me that if our trainer hadn’t recognized the problem so quickly, I could have lost my leg.”

    Dao agrees, acknowledging that it is critical to diagnose cellulitis early.

    “We always want to catch the infection sooner rather than later, no matter who the patient is or what their comorbidities are,” Dao states. “We do not want to miss it or misdiagnose it.”

    During that 2015 season, Watt also suffered a broken hand, two torn abdominal muscles, three torn adductor muscles, and two herniated discs. Somehow, he did not miss a game.

    “That was my 2015 season. Believe it or not, the scariest was probably the staph infection.”

    MRSA cellulitis is hardly new to National Football League (NFL) locker rooms. In 2015, New York Giants tight end Daniel Fells nearly had his foot amputated because of MRSA cellulitis. Physicians were able to avoid amputating Fells’ foot, but the infection ended his career prematurely, as it has for many other NFL players in recent years.

    In 2013, for example, three members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers suffered from MRSA cellulitis: offensive guard Carl Nicks, cornerback Johnthan Banks, and kicker Lawrence Tynes. Tynes was the most vocal about his bout of MRSA, asserting that it forced his retirement. He later filed a lawsuit against the team, citing unsanitary conditions and seeking $20 million.

    Both sides eventually reached a settlement in February 2017, although the terms were not disclosed. Tynes’ settlement came nearly three years after the Bucs awarded Nicks $3 million as part of a separate injury settlement.

    Tynes’ lawsuit alleged that the Bucs failed to disclose and actively concealed ongoing episodes of MRSA cellulitis among his teammates. It also claimed that the Bucs failed to employ standard sterile techniques, routinely leaving therapy devices, equipment, and surfaces unclean.

    Tynes is correct in thinking that such hazards might have facilitated transmission of MRSA.

    “In an athletic setting, we usually think about equipment that is not being cleaned often or is harder to clean routinely,” says Dao.

    “The large rosters and close quarters of locker rooms, with a high concentration of athletes together, make transmission easy. It is the right environment for a higher rate of infection.”

    In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Sophia Kazakova MD, MPH, PhD and her colleagues observed 58 St. Louis Rams players during the 2003 season. Eight incidents of MRSA cellulitis occurring in five Rams players were recorded. The authors found that MRSA cellulitis was associated with wound care providers lacking access to hand hygiene, players skipping showers before using communal whirlpools, and players sharing towels.

    They also identified skin abrasions as a primary culprit. In fact, all eight MRSA skin abscesses developed at sites with underlying abrasions, which were usually left uncovered.

    “Cellulitis is usually due to breaks in the skin,” Dao notes. “In fact, a common clinical scenario involves athlete’s foot, or tinea pedis, in which overcolonization of the skin with fungi we call dermatophytes can lead to small fissures in the skin, forming a portal of entry for bacteria.”

    “Bacteria can then enter the skin and travel upwards to cause cellulitis of the lower leg without apparent infection of the foot.”

    Interestingly, in the study, cellulitis exclusively affected Rams linemen and linebackers, sparing their teammates who line up in the backfield. Indeed, linemen such as Watt, unlike quarterbacks or cornerbacks, experience physical contact on every play. Such frequent contact causes the soft tissue injuries and abrasions that provide ready entry for pathogens such as MRSA.

    Dao offers a specific solution to make it easier for players to treat their open wounds.

    “We might want to install antibacterial dispensers in NFL locker rooms and gyms, similar to current efforts pushing for sunscreen dispensers in our public parks.”

    Equally important, Dao argues, is a stronger emphasis on player education.

    “Team physicians need to be in touch with players,” Dao suggests. “They need to educate players that it is okay for them to report boils or swelling, even if it is embarrassing for them. Sometimes we think, ‘They are football players. They are supposed to be strong and healthy.’ But reporting these types of lesions does not mean they are unsanitary or neglecting their skin.”

    Dao also recommends providing educational materials to teams, outlining infection-control practices and appropriate measures for responding to cases or clusters of MRSA infections.

    After the outbreak in Tampa Bay, the NFL launched an Infectious Disease Prevention Program, a partnership with the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network (DICON). The program aims to standardize how teams educate players about hygiene and infections, while also instituting league-wide cleaning protocols and a unified response plan geared toward preventing skin, fungal, and gastrointestinal infections.

    DICON has worked with the NFL and the NFL Players Association to create a comprehensive infection prevention manual that has been distributed to all 32 NFL teams. Its policies, which include installing hand disinfectant gel stations, mandating post-practice showers, and discouraging cosmetic body shaving, have already been implemented by many teams.

    These changes could go a long way in preventing other players from experiencing the career-threatening struggle that Watt and others did.

    There were some very rough days,” Watt admitted. “When the thing that you love is taken away from you and the game that you’re so passionate about and you put so much work towards. When that’s taken away from you, that’s when you truly realize how much it means to you and how special it is.”

    Watt is glad to be finally healthy, and with a renewed love for the game, he eagerly awaits his return to the gridiron for the upcoming season.

    “There’s a brand new passion. There’s a brand new excitement level that I haven’t had in a long time…I can’t wait [to hit somebody]. It’s like having an insatiable appetite that hasn’t been fed in a very, very long time. It’s all pent up and at some point—somebody is going to feel it and that’s going to be fun,” Watt laughed.

    Dr. Dao is neither involved in the medical care of J.J. Watt nor has access to his personal medical records. His analysis represents speculation based on available information and consults with experts and specialists.

  • 2017 NFL Schedule To Be Released Thursday Night

    Get the details on Battle Red Blog.

    What was rumored last week…

    …is now official. From NFL.com:

    The 2017 schedule will be announced exclusively on NFL Network at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday night as part of a two-hour long special.

    We’ve known who your Houston Texans will face in the 2017 regular season and where they’ll be playing since the conclusion of the 2016 regular season. On Thursday evening at 7 p.m. CDT, we’ll find out the order and kickoff times of the games.

    In the meantime, let loose with your schedule predictions, including but not limited to guessing how many prime-time games the Texans have in ‘17.

  • Is Rick Smith A Top 10 NFL General Manager?

    Join us as we discuss whether or not the Texans’ GM is really as good as many think him to be.

    Rotoworld put out their annual ranking of all general managers in the NFL, and the Texans’ Rick Smith once again measured up quite well.

    9. Rick Smith, Texans

    Last Year’s Ranking: 10

    You are correct. Rick Smith not only signed Brock Osweiler, he then gave up on him after one season, paying the Browns a second-round pick to take him off the Texans’ hands. That was a screw up. But Smith isn’t defined by one move any more than anyone else on this list. The single most important decision a general manager makes every year is his team’s first-rounder. Smith has a track record few can match. Since 2006, here are Smith’s Day 1 selections: Mario Williams, Amobi Okoye, Duane Brown, Brian Cushing, Kareem Jackson, J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus, DeAndre Hopkins, Jadeveon Clowney, Kevin Johnson and Will Fuller. Okoye flopped and the jury is still out on Clowney and Fuller, but that is a ridiculous group. Thanks in large part to Smith hiring one of the game’s best coaches in Bill O’Brien, the Texans have made the playoffs four of the past six seasons. Smith’s team is a quarterback away from true greatness. He may never find it. That doesn’t diminish what he’s already accomplished.

    A few things spring immediately to mind when reading this.

    • Rick Smith was hired after the Mario Williams selection and was not involved with it (or the Texans) in any way at the time of the 2006 NFL Draft.
    • Is the hiring of Bill O’Brien considered a positive if he and Smith don’t like each other?
    • Smith’s team is a quarterback away from true greatness.’’ This is true. It’s been a quarterback away for at least four years now. There’s a reason the BRB motto is ‘‘Waiting for next year since 2002.’’

    All joking aside, the roster Smith has put in place is generally a strong one. It has numerous defensive stars (or stars in the making) and an offense that is one piece away from being quite good (that one piece being the most important one). What do you say, Texans fans? Is Rick Smith as good as Rotoworld make him out to be, or is his failure to find a long term solution to the QB problem a heinous crime that shall forever smear your perception of him?

  • 2017 NFL Draft: Garett Bolles Visits Texans

    More news about which NFL Draft prospects are visiting NRG Park.

    Your Houston Texans are sprinting to the finish line with the 2017 NFL Draft a little more than a week away. Now word has gotten out through “league sources not authorized to speak publicly” that another potential first round target, Utah offensive tackle Garett Bolles, was in town yesterday to meet with the Texans.

    This isn’t the first time Bolles’ path has crossed with the Texans, as the two sides also met at the NFL Combine. At that time, Bolles had this to say:

    “They’re great people,” Bolles said. “A great organization and coaching staff. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens. If the Texans pick me up, great. I’ll be more than happy to go to Texas. I’d be honored to play for that organization.

    “When I’m on the field, I want to be nasty. I’m a competitor. I have a quick urge to get off the ball because I just want to punch the guy in the mouth and do whatever I can to be successful. I have the dog inside of me.”

    The biggest negative about Bolles may well be his age; he’ll be a 25 year old rookie. Would the loss of a few years of production due to his “advanced” age be enough of a deterrent for you to steer clear of Bolles if he was still available at No. 25? Or are you enough of a Bolles fan that you’d welcome him regardless of how many candles will be on his next birthday cake?





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TEXANS ON AMAZON Hallmark 233305 Houston Texans Lunch Napkins

Every Houston Texans fanatic needs to have a collection of cool Houston Texans stuff, would you agree?

So, every couple of days I’m going to show you some stuff you might be interested in.

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Hallmark NFL Houston Texans Luncheon Napkins 1 packages of 16

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FEATURED NEWS ARTICLE: Saturday Night’s Alright For Commenting: April 15, 2017

Featured Texans Article

Hello Texans Fans

Here Is a post that I think you will enjoy taking a peek at.

Saturday Night’s Alright For Commenting: April 15, 2017

This weekend is about bunnies, (kittens), chocolate, and eggs! Not together, though. That would be a mess of epic proportions.

Hola, Texans fans. It’s Saturday night, and we have no lives, so we’re here to discuss just about whatever tickles our fancy at BRB. This is our weekly open thread where we delve into topics too far out there (alien cat rulers from the planet Feline? Sure!) to discuss on other days.

This has been a heady week here in Texanfanlandia. We’ve learned who we’re facing this preseason. We’ve learned that Matt McGloin will not come save us at quarterback (though whether that would be saving, or further casting us into the abyss, is debatable). We’ve learned that no one respects us or expects us to win anything (probably because we don’t, but still, it’s the thought of it all). We’ve released Tony and picked up JD.

Enough about football. What are you doing this fine Texan evening? Watching basketball (Go Rockets!)? Baseball (Go ‘Stros!)? Something adventurous like hockey, rugby, or tennis? Or something else altogether? This is your Saturday Night Open Thread, where we discuss just about everything we’re doing, thinking, or feeling. Chat away!

The rest of the article can be found here:
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FEATURED LINK: The Top Ten Things Bill O’Brien Looks For In A Quarterback!

Featured Houston Texans Article

Hi Texans Fanatics

Here’s a post that I think you will like taking a look at.

The Top Ten Things Bill O’Brien Looks For In A Quarterback!

Greetings, Houston Texans fans, as it’s the doldrums of the pre-draft cycle, and at least I for one need a good chuckle, I present for your reading pleasure:

The Top Ten Things Bill O’Brien Looks For In A Quarterback!

Please use this list as a guide as we lead into the 2017 NFL Draft, by the end of it, we’ll all know who the Texans are choosing in the draft this season.

#10

Tall and lanky. So tall this player can see over even the biggest lineman, this also means long ungainly arms. You might think there was a reason football related for this. However, you would be wrong. Bill O’Brien is committed to diversity and that extends to the fans. He wants a quarterback whose wind up and throws are so telegraphed, even someone as visually impaired as Stevie Wonder sees it coming.

See examples: Brock Osweiler

#9

A real team player, someone who can take the blame of a loss in stride, be the best teammate they can be. If a young college player is good at saying “This is on me” he’s on Bill O’Brien short list.

See examples: Brock Osweiler, Brian Hoyer

#8

Is there a young draft eligible Quarterback who excels at crumpling to the deck in the face of pressure? Someone who has that “Deer in the headlights” look whenever hologram whiffs a block or even worse the protection scheme is completely wrong? That young man might just hear his name called for Houston later this month!

See: Brock Osweiler, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett

#7

Can they throw punts? Is there a young man adept at tossing 40 plus yard punts unexpectedly? Sure the stat line might say “Interception” but that’s really a feature of the Bill O’Brien offense! See, he does it to throw off the other team, and save Shane Lechler’s leg for when he really needs a punt later.

See: Brian Hoyer

#6

Look at the potential draftee QB’s. Find the most durable, the young men who take a hit and keep on rocking. Now remove them from your potentials list. BO’B doesn’t want that. He wants players who can fill needed space on the IR list from minor should injuries or break a leg from being tackled. That allows back ups to get much needed play time. In BO’B’s Offense, tough guys need not apply.

See: Brian Hoyer, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tom Savage

#5

Finding a good quarterback is like finding a cherry filled chocolate covered ball in a bag of Bridge Mix. It’s tough, and often time you get something less than cherry. Bill O’Brien avoids this by avoiding drafting quarterbacks until later in the rounds, let the other teams take the caramel, the coconut, the peanuts, he’ll get that QB cherry later. Look for a QB to be selected no earlier than the 4th round.

See: Every QB the Texans passed on over the last three years, and also Tom Savage

#4

When evaluating Quarterbacks, their aim is a top priority, doubly so in the Bill O’Brien Offense. Which potential new Texans QB out there in draft land excels at hitting shoe laces, making sure the ball is three feet behind and in the dirt of receivers. BO’B likes a QB that can prevent interceptions, when the pig skin hits big green ball first, it’s win win for the Texans! The clock stops, so the defense can rest more, the other team didn’t snag it and run it back for a score. No sir, in O’Brien’s offense, there ain’t no room for repeats of the Schaub Era interception fest! Well.. that’s the plan at least…

See: Ryan Mallett, Brock Osweiler, Brian Hoyer

#3

Does your favorite college pig skin slinger like to gun it down range? Can he hit a receiver in stride, with a deft touch on the ball thirty yards down field? Well cross that flop off your list. Bill O’Brien is looking for 3 yards or less sharp shooters. His kind of QB doesn’t take risky chances, if it’s 3rd and 8, Bill wants that ball under three yards out. The Receivers are paid to make those extra yards up. Unless of course it’s the pass punt play, that’s different.

See: Ryan Mallett, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brock Osweiler

#2

High flying, high scoring offenses that don’t let up when they have a lead. Is your preferred QB known for this kind of play? Is he a real field general that makes plays happen and moves those chains with his high football IQ, his strong arm and when needed scampers past those chains? Yeah, Bill ain’t interested in all that jazz. He’s looking for a competent pocket passer who doesn’t take risks, “milquetoast” is highly prized in Bill’s eyes.

See: Bryan Hoyer, Brock Osweiler

#1

What is the number one trait for a Bill O’Brian Quarterback? Attitude. I don’t mean that “I’m a winner, we’re winners” of Tom Brady or Aaron Raodgers, no that’s so not Bill’s style, we’re talking miss the team flight, argue with the coaches, get’s into fights about being put into the game kinda players. Petulance is a virtue! Oh yeah. Bill learned that them Tom Brady fight’s aren’t winnable, see his time in New England for example.

See: Ryan Mallett, Brock Osweiler

This guide has been scientifically formulated with salty, on the nose realness for your amusement.

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FEATURED TEXANS ITEM NFL Houston Texans Women’s Game Day T-Shirt, X-Large

Every Houston fan needs to have a collection of cool Houston stuff, would you agree?

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