Texans Preview By Texans Chick

Texans Preview By Texans Chick

It isn't Sunday yet, so Eagles and Texans fans are still getting along.  As you know, I've been writing about the Eagles for AOL's NFL Fanhouse.  In doing so I've met some cool people from all over the place, including Texas.

To give Eagles fans an idea of what the Texans are all about we have a special guest.  Stephanie Stradley, who I'm convinced was from South Philly in a former life, writes the Houston Chronicle’s FanBlog: Texans and the Texans NFL Fanhouse page.   Stephanie is also a moderator on the Texans
official message board.

She even used the word y'all in her preview.  Awesome.

Stephanie's Texans preview for an Eagles Fan:

Dear Eagles Fans, 

I want to be on record as one of the people who likes Eagles
fans, mostly because y’all loathe the Cowboys just about as much as I do. 

Now, I realize that most of you have a “W” written down for the
game against the Texans, and as a public service, I would suggest that you do
that in pencil, so you can erase it if need be.

You haven’t probably read much about the Texans in the
offseason, other than people saying that they suck and are stupid for not
taking the Best Running Back Evaaaaar. So you might not know much about the changes the Texans have done on
both sides of the ball.

Former Denver
offensive coordinator, Gary Kubiak is the new head coach. So far, at least in the preseason, it appears
as though the Texans are learning up the Denver
style offense pretty well. Faster than expected. Former Packers coach, Mike
Sherman has primarily been working with the mostly maligned Texans offensive
line. This is the first year that the
Texans really have anyone worth a crap working coaching the line.

Biggest question mark on offense is how quarterback David
Carr, the young running backs and the line will deal with exotic blitzes. In the preseason, the Texans have given up
the second least amount of sacks with 4 (compared with 17 for the maximum by
any team).

The Denvers-style offense is based on the philosophy that
the defense usually has the best athletes on the field. It tries to defuse that athleticism by trying
to penalize over-pursuit and keeping the defense off-balance. The Texans will
run a lot of bootlegs and dump to the tight ends and running backs. The Texans wide receivers are tall and
physical, and the question will be whether Carr will have enough confidence and
time to get them the ball.

The new defensive coordinator for the Texans is Richard
Smith, formerly of the Dolphins. He is
running an aggressive 4-3 base defense replacing last years 3-4. So, far in the preseason, the Texans have
only given up 3 points in the first quarter against first string offenses. The D line has looked really good and the
question is whether they will be good enough to help with the thinnishness in
the secondary.

The Texans special teams has been a strength of the team
because of their coach, Joe Marciano. They have always outperformed other parts of the team. Kicker Kris Brown
has had an iffy preseason but at least it hasn’t been as bad as Vanderjagt’s.

For those who want to know more than that about the Texans,
I suggest you check out this post.

The Texans have usually done well in their openers, and
Reliant Stadium is sold out and should be packed. It is an extremely loud stadium because the
fans are so close to the field because of the retractable roof.  The roof will be closed for the game. I’ve
been in the first row of a few games, and it is so loud at field level that
your ears ring afterwards.

Anyhow, last preseason the Texans played like crap and then
had the season of crap. I know you can’t
base too much off of the preseason, but at least this preseason the Texans have
looked like a real football team and less like crap. Seriously, before you ink
the W in, check out the offensive and defensive stats of the Texans, especially
the rushing yards.

In sum, what I want to say is that you should not kill or
otherwise harm yourself
if the Texans beat the Eagles.

Regards,
Steph
The Texans Chick

P.S. Oh, and please beat the crap outta Dallas.  Hopefully the Texans will do the same.

P.S.S. If you
are going to the game, show up early because the tailgating is great.  You can find me in the platinum
lot. Be sure to visit the St. Arnold’s
Brewery tailgate because their Houston-made beer is like its own food group.

As Eagles enter bye, Doug Pederson aims to thwart complacency

As Eagles enter bye, Doug Pederson aims to thwart complacency

The Eagles are 3-0. They’re alone atop the NFC East and have been the biggest surprise of the young NFL season.

Doug Pederson’s message to his team: You haven’t done anything yet.

Although the Eagles are riding high, Pederson doesn’t want his team to change its outlook or hard work. That’s what teams have to worry about once they’ve found some success.

“The biggest thing is complacency,” Pederson said Monday. “You think you've arrived. You think you are all that. When that creeps in, that's when you get beat. It's my job not to let that creep in. I've got to keep the guys focused and grounded. I told them this week they're going to travel and go home and people are going to pat them on the back and say how great they are.

“But next Monday, I'm going to tell them, ‘Hey, we're back to work. We're 0-0. This is Game 1 and let's go.’ That's just the way it has to be. You are building for one ultimate goal and that's a few weeks down the road. That's what you are trying to get to. But you can't get there unless you take care of the next opponent. It's my job to keep them focused that way.”

Being 3-0 (they’re one of five 3-0 teams) gives the Eagles a head start, but it certainly doesn’t guarantee them a playoff spot. This is the ninth 3-0 start in franchise history. They’ve made the playoffs just five times in the previous eight. And they recently missed the playoffs after starting 3-0 in 2014 under Chip Kelly.

In NFL history (before this season), there have been 276 teams to start with 3-0 records. Of them, 200 (72.3 percent) have made the playoffs.

“We just have to approach it the same, one day at a time,” Pederson said. “That's the way this business goes. You are on top of the world one minute, and you can be at the bottom of the heap the next. Just got to keep things even-keeled and can't get too high, can't get too low. Approach it the same. Like I mentioned earlier, you can't substitute for hard work. That pays off on Sundays. We just have to stay the course. Again, a lot of football left.”

While the Week 4 bye comes pretty early, the Eagles have a couple key players who will use the time to get healthy. And Connor Barwin pointed out that the bye is coming about closer to the halfway point between when the team started its tough training camp and the end of the season.

Pederson told his players to use the week to get away from football and free their minds. Meanwhile, Pederson and his coaches will use the extra time to self-scout and prepare for the final 13 games of the regular season.

With a first-year head coach and a rookie quarterback who was thrust into action a week before the opener, expectations outside (and perhaps inside) the building were tempered.

The Eagles aren’t an underdog anymore.

“We kind of enjoyed flying under the radar, but obviously a win like this against a team like the Steelers will open some eyes around the league,” Malcolm Jenkins said. “For us, nothing different. We’ll keep our preparation the same. We’ll stick our heads down and focus on the work day to day and understand what’s gotten us to 3-0.”

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Ivan Provorov displays durability, versatility in Flyers' preseason loss

Ivan Provorov displays durability, versatility in Flyers' preseason loss

BOX SCORE

NEWARK, N.J. — How much of a horse is Flyers defensive prospect Ivan Provorov?

Well, consider this:

The 19-year-old logged a game-high 28:48 of ice time Monday night during the Flyers' 2-0 split-squad loss to the Devils in which he also quarterbacked the first-unit power play (8:03) and had the most penalty kill time (3:58) (see story).

“I thought I played well,” Provorov said. “It took me a few shifts to get into the game. I competed as hard as I could.”

He said he was used to playing more than 25 minutes in Brandon (WHL), anyway.

“Of course, this is a better league, high pace and it will take a few games to adjust,” Provorov said.

Because the Flyers have yet to work on power play, the results aren’t there. They were 0 for 7 in the game.

“We haven’t done anything on the ice, but have done some video on the PK on the board but nothing on the power play,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “There’s other priorities now with so many players (64) in camp.”

Provorov worked both points on the power play and had just one official shot in the game.

“We didn’t get to do much power play [in camp],” he said. “It will get better as the preseason goes on.”

Rookie forward Travis Konecny worked the low slot on the top power play. He logged 18:34 of ice time, including 6:01 PP time. Konecny had two shots in the game.

He was on Andy Miele’s line with Scott Laughton. Konency had the only shots on his line.

Hakstol said Konecny and Provorov each “settled in” as the game went on. Hakstol isn’t sure if one or both will play Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center against the Islanders.

Konecny’s body language in camp exudes confidence unlike a year ago when he was skittish in his first-ever Flyers training camp. Now he sits back, takes it all in and has that look on his face of been there, done that.

In fact, he was trying to calm down some of his buddies, Anthony Salinitri and Connor Bunnaman, who were seeing the lights before the game.

“Me and [Ivan] Provorov were just talking,” he said. “We feel a lot more comfortable this year.

“I’ve been in this position here. I have my guys Salinitri and Bunnaman, we all hang out together and it’s their first year.

“They’re excited for their first preseason game just like I was last year, but I’m not thinking, ‘Wow, it’s an NHL arena.’ I’m thinking about the game and getting ready to play.”

Konecny was impressive last fall as an 18-year-old and Hakstol said he takes everything into account with more emphasis on the now than the past.

“Your body of work includes your season last year,” Hakstol  said. “Includes everything. The most important information is what you do right now. No question in my mind. I take everything into account.”

Take this into account: Alex Lyon is going to be a contender with Anthony Stolarz for the starting job in goal with the Phantoms this season. He was outstanding with 28 saves on 29 shots.

“They spent some time in our zone and had their big guns out there,” Lyon said of being under siege for two-thirds of the game. “They had a few shots but we did a good job keeping them to the outside. No super grade A opportunities.”

Lyon stopped two breakaways by Beau Bennett, one within three minutes of play.

“I felt like a newborn deer and could barely stand up,” quipped the former Yale goalie. “I was so nervous. It felt good to stop the first one.”