Are the Texans ready to take the next step?

7 08 2008

The Texans need Schaun to stay on the field to make the playoffs

The Texans need Schaub to stay on the field to make the playoffs

The Texans joined the NFL as a 2002 expansion team. They have never made the playoffs.  Could this be the year that end that drought?  “They are very close,” said Adam Wexler, from the Texans Radio Network, Sportsradio 610 in Houston.

Last season, the Texans achieved their best record ever at 8-8.  The feeling is that if quarterback Matt Schaub and wide receiver Andre Johnson could have stayed healthy they could have bettered their record.  Schub came over from the Falcons and in 11 games threw for 2,141 yards and nine touchdowns.  “They love the way he plays, said Wexler.  “But he just couldn’t stay on the field.  As for Johnson, the talented wide-out “looks pretty good so far,” according to Wexler. 

But in 2007, Johnson missed seven starts due to injury. During his injury, the Texans went 2-7 without him. However, when he returned, he immediately revisited his Pro-Bowl numbers as he finished the season with 851 receiving yards and catching a career-high 8 touchdowns. He is certainly one of the top players at his position in the game.

The Texans hope the addition of Alex Gibbs to the coaching staff pays big dividends.  Gibbs was the offensive line coach for the great Bronco teams that used his zone blocking scheme.  They hope the tandem of veterans Amhan Green and former Titan Chris Brown can excel with this new system.  Add in pass-catching tight end Owen Daniels, who Wexler says is “an extremely underrated tight end,”  and the Texans might be okay on the offensive side of the ball.

Where they hope to get better is on defense.  Two years ago, they passed on running back Reggie Bush and selected Mario Williams as the first overall selection.  After struggling along through an injury plagued rookie campaign, it looked like he was well on his way to becoming a bust.  However, eight games into last season something changed and now he is paired with linebacker DeMeco Ryans to form one of the best duos in football.  Also, the Texans are very happy with what they saw from last years top pick Amobi Okoye, who registered 5.5 sacks as a 20-year old rookie last season.

There is a lot to be excited about in Houston, they Texans are clearly moving in the right direction, “it would be very disappointing if they weren’t playing for the playoffs late in the season,” said Wexler.  The best guess here is they are good enough to improve to 9-7 or 10-6, but the AFC South is just to tough to be a playoff team right now.

Up Next : Atlanta Falcons

This is a series called “2-A-Days” that will preview two teams per day every day this month, where Mike Gill will interview a beat writer or radio personality who covers the team on “The Mike Gill Show” on ESPN Radio 1450 , weekdays from 3-6pm.

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