When you look at the roster of the Houston Texans, it is hard to figure why they finished 6-10 and are still looking for their first playoff experience since their inception.
They ranked 3rd in the NFL in total offense and QB Matt Schaub avoided the injury bug that had plagued his career. They have play makers at WR and TE and have the 2010 league’s leading rusher in undrafted free agent Arian Foster.
Defensively is where things start to get puzzling. They have a pass rush presence on both sides with Mario Williams and Antonio Smith. Their first pick in 2007, Amobi Okoye is solid and only 23 years old with 4 years of NFL experience. He should be just what new Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips needs to build his 34 defense.
DeMeco Ryans and Brian Cushing are one of the better LB tandems in the NFL. In Phillips’s new defense, Cushing may be put into a roll like Clay Mathews of Green Bay.
The problem is in the secondary. Houston was last in the NFL in pass defense and with the 11th overall pick of the 2011 draft may have the option at selecting one of the top DB’s. They would love to see Prince Amukamara fall to them, but I’m not sure that will happen with Dallas, San Francisco, and other DB needy teams drafting ahead of them. They will need to decide if Aaron Williams, Brandon Harris, or Jimmy Smith will be worthy of that 11th overall selection. If not, I think they would look to an outside linebacker that will give them another edge rush threat. The next best way to improve your pass defense is to get to the QB before he has time to throw it.
The schedule will not give them any breaks either with out of division foes coming from the AFC North and NFC South. That means they will face Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Josh Freeman, Ben Rothlisberger and Joe Flacco and as usual Payton Manning twice.