July 2013

With all the talk about today’s NFL being a game in which quarterbacks rule the day and everything else runs one step behind, the Houston Texans have built a consistently winning team with a decidedly old-school archetype. Their best player in 2012 was a defensive lineman (J.J. Watt), their primary receiver is an under-the-radar superstar, their quarterback stands a bit above average, and the real fulcrum of the team lies in a power-based, zone running game. They had the NFL’s fewest shotgun plays in 2012, and ran more than most teams when they were behind, even late in games,when they were behind – 34 percent of all such plays in the second half, to be specific. In 2012, the Texans finished the regular season with a 12-4 record, the best record in franchise history. They finished in the top 10 in offensive and defensive points and yards, the first time they’d done so in franchise history. And yet, the Texans are seen by some as a disappointment, because they haven’t been able to advance meaningfully in the postseason. They’ve beaten the Cincinnati Bengals in the wild-card rounds of the last two AFC playoffs, and they’ve lost to the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots, respectively, in the next round. Something is going to have to pop for the Texans to take the next step, and most think that the pressure is most on quarterback Matt Schaub. Schaub’s problem is not that he’s a bad quarterback; rather, the issue seems to be his inability to rise to that nebulous “elite” level, and he’s going to hear a lot about that this season. Matter of fact, he’s already heard a lot about it. "He understands that. He knows that. And he does have to play better in those situations for us to take our team to the next level," general manager Rick Smith recently told the NFL Network , when asked about Schaub’s performances in big games. The Texans seem to be set for another AFC South title. But how far will they go this season when the lights get bright? Schaub is 32 years old. Andre Johnson has been one of the league’s best receivers for a very long time, but he’s 32 as well. There’s talent old and young along the team’s entire roster, but there’s also a sense that the window might be closing. And if the Texans don’t advance further in the postseason this year, one wonders if more major changes will be made.
COMMENTARY | After missing the playoffs last season, New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese has done his best to improve his team this offseason. He bolstered the offensive and defensive lines through the draft and free agency, and he navigated the salary cap to keep New York in Super Bowl contention.
Linebacker was caught with switchblade at Philadelphia airport
July 28 (The Sports Xchange) - Denver Broncos center Dan Koppen, who started 12 games last season, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and is out for the season, multiple media outlets reported. Koppen was injured when he got caught in a pile up during a workout. He was carted off the field. Koppen, 33, signed with the Broncos last month after J.D. Walton had a setback while recovering from a dislocated ankle. Walton could be back by mid-October, but any further complication could put him out for the season. ...
OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) -- Baltimore Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta is lost for the season after undergoing hip surgery, a major blow to the team's bid to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
Denver Broncos center Dan Koppen, who started 12 games last season, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and is out for the season, multiple media outlets reported.
METAIRIE, La. (AP) -- Mark Ingram says he's not concerned about making his third season the first one in which he lives up to his Heisman hype.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The stress of coping with life led Will Hill to use marijuana, the New York Giants safety said Sunday in his first comments after being hit by the NFL with his second four-game suspension.
In a frank and open discussion Sunday, New York Giants safety Will Hill revealed the four-game suspension announced last week was for marijuana use to alleviate off-field stress last season.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Bill Parcells learned a life-changing lesson in his first coaching job at little Hastings College - give your team the best chance to win.

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