FBO: Plugging AFC South holes
Important questions for the Colts, Texans, Jags and Titans
Football Outsiders continues its Plugging the Holes series, in which it targets the offseason issues facing each team in the NFL by division. For more information on the stats that FBO uses, please go here.
Houston Texans: Can Slaton bounce back?
Steve Slaton's rookie season was the stuff dreams are made of. His 1,282 rushing yards set a Texans franchise record and led all first-year players in 2008. Those dreams turned to nightmares in 2009, though, as Slaton rushed for just 437 yards at a clip of 3.3 yards per carry. He also fumbled five times on just 131 carries. (Adrian Peterson led all running backs with six fumbles, but he also carried the ball 314 times.) Slaton was finally placed on injured reserve after Week 12 with a neck injury.
Slaton was even worse by Football Outsiders' advanced metrics, finishing last in the league in all three statistics we use to evaluate running backs: DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average, which measures value on a per-carry basis), DYAR (defense-adjusted yards above replacement, which measures total value) and success rate (which measures how often a runner gains meaningful yardage). Although Slaton's speed and open-field ability made him a very effective receiver (he finished third among running backs in receiving DVOA and second in receiving DYAR), he was pretty clearly the least potent ground threat in football in 2009.
To continue reading about various issues with the AFC South squads, including (obviously) defending AFC champ Indy and how it can get back to the Super Bowl, you must be an ESPN Insider.
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With the Super Bowl in the books, Football Outsiders starts looking ahead to 2010 and the biggest issues every NFL team will be facing.February 10: Plugging the Holes - AFC West February 11: Plugging the Holes - NFC West February 12: Plugging the Holes - AFC North February 15: Plugging the Holes - NFC North February 16: Plugging the Holes - AFC East February 17: Plugging the Holes - NFC East February 18: Plugging the Holes - AFC South February 19: Plugging the Holes - NFC South