IRVING, Texas – A few leftover notes from my study of the win against Houston. This is my last look back at Week 5 before we put the focus on the Week 6 matchup in Seattle.
- I really liked what I saw from Travis Frederick in this game against the Texans. Along with Ronald Leary, I thought they were the two best offensive linemen in the game in the way they played. It was another game where Frederick had to handle a nose man and he was more than up to the task of having to dealing with the size and power of Ryan Pickett and Jerrell Powe. Where Frederick was also able to shine was when he had to reach those two when they lined up off his nose and in the gap. There were several snaps where he was able to make his snap and reach play side, which gave DeMarco Murray a nice little crease between him and the guards to run the ball. He was also instrumental in keeping an eye on J.J. Watt and keeping him in check.
- It is clear that Rod Marinelli is more aggressive in the way he calls the game in relation to what we saw from Monte Kiffin in 2013 -- but that also might be due to the skill level of the players that are currently on the field. Marinelli's plan in this last game was to make Ryan Fitzpatrick have to deal with linebacker and secondary blitzes, but all the while covering those gaps by dropping linemen into coverage. Marinelli took advantage of the situation knowing that the Texans struggled with their protections along the offensive line and with their backs. He created hits on Fitzpatrick with Rolando McClain and J.J. Wilcox early in the game, which I believe affected the way he played. He later brought Orlando Scandrick on a slot blitz that resulted in a deflected pass. On tape, you can differently tell that while Fitzpatrick was in the pocket, he was concerned with the pressure and you saw him trying to throw the ball more quickly. He wasn't as accurate as a result. I believe it is this type of mix that we have seen from Marinelli that has allowed this defense to play better overall. [embedded_ad]
- Jeremy Mincey continues to make plays for this defensive line. My initial impression of him from tape while at Jacksonville and Denver was that of a steady player -- but one who would never do anything spectacular. His ability to play against the run was his calling card, but he has shown the ability to give some pass rush off the edge. His rush on Fitzpatrick in the overtime period on third down was a game-saver for this club. Of all the defensive linemen, I believe he plays with the best technique and is the most consistent player they have down after down. Through five games he has been an outstanding get for this personnel department.
- I was surprised Anthony Spencer didn't have a better showing against the Texans and their offensive line. It wasn't that Spencer wasn't trying or giving effort in the game, but he just wasn't as active or as productive as he was against the Saints. He got caught a couple of times wide on his rushes and was not able to sharpen the corner to cause any problems. I have yet to see him really explode off that edge. Spencer might not ever be what he once was, but if I am this defensive staff I am going to continue to play him off that edge and see if he can once again find that guy.