Inside The Bills

Texans ‘D’ keeps shorter QBs in pocket

Posted by Chris Brown on December 6, 2015 – 9:03 am

They’ve done it more than once this season and with great success. When facing a quarterback that is not of prototype height, Houston’s defense forces the opposing signal caller to stay in the pocket and make throws from there. Shorter QBs sometimes do not have as clear a view downfield when forced to stay in the pocket unless a passing lane opens up, and with the way the Texans can collapse the pocket it makes it supremely difficult to string positive plays together.

Just ask Drew Brees. At six-feet tall, Brees often rolls out or manipulates the pocket with his feet to target receivers downfield. Last week, as we covered in our scouting report, the Texans did not allow him to do that. The result was a passing day in which Brees, a career 66 percent completion passer, managed to connect on just under 57 percent of his passes. He also was held without a touchdown pass for the first time in 45 games and threw an interception.

Tyrod Taylor at just 6-1 has seen that from opposing defenses already this season (see: New England – Week 2, NY Giants – Week 4), and is pretty much expecting much of the same Sunday.

“We’ve seen that several times this year and they did a great job doing that,” said Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman of Houston’s approach last week against Brees. “There’s a lot of different ways you can handle that, deal with that. And it starts with blocking guys. You don’t want guys to get all that push to the pocket; you want to set a great apex to the pocket. And there’s other things you can do as well.  They do a great job pushing the pocket, disrupting the pocket, not just from a sack standpoint.  If you look at Watt, he impacts the game as much on his QB hurries, how he attracts double teams, how he takes numbers away from the offense and frees up his teammates.  He’s definitely that kind of a guy, a force multiplier for his teammates.”

Whether the Bills men up front can consistently give Taylor room to operate in the pocket or create a throwing lane for him to work from the pocket will be easier said than done with as well as Houston has been able to corral opposing QBs.

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