Spotlight - QB David Carr, Houston Texans
Posted 5/30 by Jason Wood and Mike Anderson,
Exclusive to Footballguys.com
Jason Wood's Thoughts
It’s now or never for David Carr, and he knows it. Four seasons into his tenure as the Texans franchise figure, Carr has led his team to an 18-46 record with last season’s 2-14 debacle as the punctuation mark on a disappointing start to the expansion franchise’s history. Carr is the last remnant of the team’s original triumvirate, as head coach Dom Capers was replaced by Gary Kubiak and GM Charlie Casserly resigned after this year’s NFL draft. The Texans bucked public pressure to select Vince Young or Reggie Bush (instead selecting Mario Williams), and picked up Carr’s $8 million option. With a new regime in place and an upgraded offensive unit, Carr has to show growth in 2006.
It’s impossible to judge Carr without acknowledging the pounding he’s endured. At first glance, Carr’s career 57.8 percent completion percentage and 48 touchdowns to 53 interceptions are hardly the stuff of legend. Yet, considering the absolute beating he’s taken in four seasons, one could make the case he’s been one of the league’s most impressive quarterbacks.
Consider over the last four seasons:
Fantasy owners must ask themselves two questions. One, will the new coaching staff install a more effective protection scheme? Two, can Carr elevate his game under less consistent duress?
New Coaching Staff – Ten teams hired new head coaches this year and few hold as much promise as Gary Kubiak. Kubiak, Mike Shanahan’s right-hand man for the last decade in Denver, is a former NFL QB. Kubiak has coached two Hall of Fame quarterbacks in Steve Young and John Elway, and also helped turn Jake Plummer’s career around. As a Cardinal, Plummer was sacked an average of 36 times per season; as a Bronco, he’s been sacked just 17 times a season. This is music to Carr’s ears. Perhaps the most important coaching hire was former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike Sherman. Sherman has been hired as an assistant head coach and will focus on the offensive line, where he cut his teeth for years before taking over the Green Bay job. The combination of Sherman and Kubiak will bring new focus and discipline to an underwhelming offensive line.
New Receiving Weapons – The Texans have a special young receiver in Andre Johnson. But Johnson had difficulty at times last year because opposing defenses schemed to remove him from the game while begging other Texans to beat them. They didn’t. But help is on the way in the form of Eric Moulds (three-time Pro Bowler, four 1,000-yard seasons) and tight end Jeb Putzier, who comes over from Denver. Collectively, this trio will give Carr his best and most balanced receiving corps to date.
Offensive Line Overhaul – An argument could be made that even without any personnel changes this year, the additions of Gary Kubiak, Mike Sherman and the rest of the coaching staff would mean better offensive line play. But the team didn’t stand pat, most notably adding grizzled veteran Mike Flanagan at center. Flanagan’s addition allows Steve McKinney to move back to guard, where he flourished as an Indianapolis Colt. Chester Pitts, a tackle in recent years, will also move back inside where he’s better suited. At tackle, the team will have a spirited competition as two rookies, Eric Winston and Chester Pitts, will battle veterans Zach Wiegert, Todd Wade and Seth Wand.
So does this really make David Carr a fantasy sleeper? The Texans attempted just 450 passes last season (29th in the NFL), something that’s sure to change under Kubiak’s watch. Despite Carr throwing for just 2,488 yards and 14 touchdowns, he was able to finish a respectable 18th among fantasy QBs last year. With all of the changes, he could easily vault into fantasy starter status. Is it likely? Not necessarily. But possible? Absolutely. With Carr available later in your draft, he should be someone to target as your second QB who could end up starting at some point this year.
- Carr is an accurate, strong-armed, polished passer who has played reasonably well in unbelievably difficult circumstances.
- Kubiak, Calhoun and Sherman have a long history of coaching successful offenses with excellent QB play and unyielding pass protection.
- Johnson, Moulds, Davis and Putzier give Carr the best supporting cast of his career.
- Sacks have a cumulative effect and no one has taken a worse pounding through the first four years of their career than Carr.
- Pro-rated over a 16-game season, Carr’s career numbers equate to just 2,833 yards passing, 13 TD passes and 14 INTs.
- The Texans offensive line may need more than a free agent center and two rookie tackles can provide.
Many savvy fantasy owners prefer to wait until the middle rounds to target
quarterbacks. As part of that strategy, you have to target at least one
quarterback that has enough risk that many of your fellow owners don’t
view him as a viable fantasy option. This year, David Carr is that guy.
Having never been a fantasy force, Carr won’t be on many people’s short
lists. Don’t draft Carr as your first quarterback, but be willing to draft
Carr as your backup a round earlier than his ADP suggests. He could end up paying big dividends.
Mike Anderson's Thoughts
Quotations from the Message Board Thread
To view the entire Player Spotlight thread (there's a ton of fantastic commentary in there),
Carr gets a lot of crap, but like most QBs who were forced to start in a bad situation as a rookie, you've got to cut him a break. He's only 27 this year, and has not had a decent opportunity to show his talent at throwing the ball. In addition to historically awful pass-blocking by the Houston offensive line, he's been in one of the most conservative offenses of the past 20 years. In Carr's four years at QB, the highest Houston has ranked in pass attempts has been #24, in 2004 when Carr finished as the #14 fantasy QB with 3800 total yards and 19 TDs.
When you look at last year's passing yards given up by defenses, guess which QB has the toughest schedule this year? It's David Carr. I'll be optimistic and give him 3200 yards, 17 TD's, 13 INT's to go along with 300 yards rushing and 2 TD's. I would only want him as my QB2 if I had a top notch starter, because I certainly wouldn't want to play matchup with this guy. Only useful as a bye week filler IMO.
David Carr Projections
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