Friday, July 29, 2011

Houston Texans

There may be no Nnamdi but the Texans have stocked up on talent in the secondary in a bid to finally make a playoff breakthrough. Al Dannity answers the only question that matters; is it enough?
The players
The Texans were great on offense in 2010 and in no way lacking in terms of talent in the front seven on defense. Unfortunately Houston possessed a flat-out awful secondary and paid a heavy price last season. The Texans wasted little time addressing this need in the draft, picking up three defensive backs. Brandon Harris, a second round pick out of Miami, could be a starter from day one while Rashad Carmichael (Virginia Tech) and Shiloh Keo (Idaho) will both see plenty of action in situational packages.
None of these new arrivals will come to Houston with the same pressure as Johnathan Joseph. The former Cincinnati Bengal has agreed a $48.75 million 5 year contract with the Texans and will be the face of this unit. Another new arrival to follow closely will be J.J. Watt, a first round pick out of Wisconsin. NFL betting fans should note that Watt represents a significant upgrade to Houston’s run defense.
Mark your calendar
Much like last season, the Week 1 date with the Colts will capture the eye. Week 3 sees the Texans travel to New Orleans before returning home to face the Steelers a week later. The Ravens will provide a stern test in Week 6 before Houston faces divisional rivals Tennessee and Jacksonville in consecutive weeks.
The Texans don’t take a bye until Week 11 and they will close with three huge match-ups in their final six games. The Falcons visit in Week 13 and the Texans then close the season with divisional games against the Colts and Titans.
The verdict
I was stunned when Gary Kubiak avoided getting fired last season. The arsenal at his disposal should have been enough to guarantee playoff Football. Instead we saw the Texans regress, due largely to their shoddy secondary. The decision not to go after Asomugha could come back to haunt them but the additions of Harris and Joseph should be enough to ensure this unit doesn’t single-handedly lose games for Houston. If the Texans don’t make the playoffs in 2011 then Kubiak simply must go. The Titans are in tatters, Jacksonville are decent but far from great, and the Colts have never looked weaker in the Peyton Manning era. I like Kubiak’s chances of survival because the Texans should finally break their playoff hoodoo this year.