Monday, August 25, 2008
Coming off a 8-8 season, the Houston Texans are looking for their first winning season in franchise history and a shot at the playoffs.
The Texans are well stocked at maybe the most important position in the game, Quarterback. Matt Schaub will be the starter, but he has never showed he can play an entire NFL season. Last year, Sage Rosenfels came off the bench and performed unexpectedly well for the injured Schaub.
However neither is really considered as a franchise QB or a Super Bowl QB. At the same time, Trent Dilfer or Brad Johnson were never really considered to be Super Bowl caliber QB's. Heck, less than a year ago no one looked at Eli Manning as a Super Bowl winner.
At first look, Houston looks loaded in the backfield. But Ahman Green's endurance is questionable because of constant injuries. Chris Brown looked like a nice addition but also has been bit by the injury bug. Rookie Steve Slaton from West Virginia could be the X-Factor for this year's Texans. Slaton will most likely be featured as a third down back. Look for Slaton to get more and more playing time as the season progresses.
If Andre Johnson can stay healthy for the entire year, the Texans will always pose a threat on offense. Andre Davis filled in nicely when Johnson went down last year. Kevin Walter was actually the Texans' leading receiver last year. With Johnson and Walter starting, things should really open up for Tight End Owen Daniels. Daniels might be one of the lesser known TE's in the NFL, but he caught 63 passes for 768 yards last year.
For the most part, Davis will be featured on special teams as a kick returner. Houston is also hoping WR/KR Jacoby Jones can come back and bring the explosive potential he showed in the 2007 preseason.
The offensive line has improved on protecting the quarterback each of the last two years. In 2005 David Carr was sacked a record 68 times. 2006 the sack count when down to 43 and last year the O-line allowed only 22 total sacks.
The Texans' defense will keep the team in every game. The defensive line anchored by Mario Williams should improve on shutting down the run and adding pressure to the quarterback. Last year Williams showed why the Texans drafted him as the number one overall pick. He finished with a franchise record 14 sacks.
The defensive line runs deep and they should be able to constantly rotate guys. N.D. Kalu, Amobi Okoye and newly acquired Roosevelt Colvin will help to provide a solid defensive front.
The Texans' also feature the most under rated linebacker in the NFL, DeMeco Ryans. All Ryans has done in his brief two years as a Texan: 2006 Defensive Rookie of the Year, 2008 Pro Bowl starter and racked up 283 tackles.
Morlon Greenwood provides excellent experience playing alongside Ryans.
The secondary will be under the most pressure with leader Dunta Robinson out until at least the halfway point. Fred Bennett, Will Demps and Jamar Fletcher will really have to step up.
Kicker Kris Brown provides a reliable leg and is always good fantasy football pick.
As for the schedule, outside the division, Houston has favorable games against Oakland, Baltimore, Miami, and the entire NFC North.
If they can find success in the running game, Houston should easily go 10-6 have a shot to make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.