Yesterday, I said let’s not throw a parade quite yet over the Houston Texans' defensive standing.
John Choi of ESPN Stats & Info saw it and did what the good people there do -- he looked to see what the numbers say.
He was kind enough to send me two pieces of information.
What's that tell us?
Well quarterbacks have smaller windows to throw to, and targets have less room to make catches. When they do make catches, they're generally being tackled more quickly. Defensive backs are getting to more balls.
It goes hand-in-hand with the work of the defensive front, of course. Additional pressure changes life for defensive backs.
How much more pressure have the Texans applied in their first two games as a Wade Phillips 3-4? Choi and I are glad you asked.
That 52.5 percentage for blitzes is the second highest in the league so far. Phillips feels confident sending at least one extra rusher so often because he knows the back end can hold up better. He also knows the throw likely to be made by the quarterback under pressure won't be as good.
These are all good numbers, and it will be very interesting to see if the Texans can maintain them against Drew Brees and the Saints Sunday in New Orleans. That will be the best offense that Houston has seen so far.
Until that game, let’s remember one of the games that helped produce these numbers was against the woeful Indianapolis Colts. Against Indianapolis, the Texans were blitzing against an offensive line with only one player in the same place he was last season and with three new starters. That line was protecting an old, immobile quarterback in his first start in that system.
So I urge Houston fans to adopt a mantra this week to temper excitement: It’s just two games. It’s just two games. It’s just two games.