Free agency can either benefit a team or be their downfall, over the abbreviated lockout plagued 2011 offseason, the Texans made moves and benefited from free agency, signing key defensive parts and filling in gaps left by players such as fullback Vonta Leach. But this free agency session has gotten off on the wrong foot for the Texans and have had many of their key and successful players whisked away and signed by other teams or cut, players such as G Mike Brisiel, DE/LB Mario Williams, FB Lawrence Vickers, who were signed away, and OL Eric Winston who was cut by the Texans.
Texan fans are ready to hit the panic button as many of the unrestricted free agents have yet to be signed by the Texans, key names such as Joel Dreessen, Jason Allen, Dominique Barber, Neil Rackers, Quintin Demps, and Matt Turk, all key pieces to the Texans team.
Aside from free agency woes, the Texans still have a nagging need in the wide receiver corps, Jacoby Jones specifically, Jones, showed throughout the season that he could not come through during pressure situations and as far as filling in for Andre Johnson, he could not fill those shoes, but in his defense, it is rather difficult to replace, let alone mimic Johnson’s presence on the field. Jones ended the season on a sour note though, possibly causing many fans to be calling for his head, botching a punt return the AFC Divisional game against the Baltimore Ravens, that gave the Ravens momentum and, in the minds of many, the game. Jones is a great contributor aside from receiving and blocked well, much to Head Coach Gary Kubiak’s pleasure, 2011 was arguably Jones’ best year, aside from the error in the playoffs.
Another receiver possibly lost is Bryant Johnson, although he did not get many passes thrown his way, he was able to corral six catches for a total of 90 yards, along with one lone touchdown. The reason for such low numbers is the Johnson did not start a game for the Texans, and consequently, not one of the main receivers, the main attribution to such low numbers, but despite that, the nine year veteran out of Penn State could be flexed at kick or punt returns.
In four years with the Arizona Cardinals, Johnson averaged 2o yards per kickoff return, and 9 in one season of punt returns. Whether Jacoby Jones is to blame for poor punt returns, or the special teams unit in general, the newly declared free agent Johnson, just might be the spark plug the Texans are looking for in the return game.