Beyond the Band-Aid
The Houston Texans are a rising force in the AFC, but even that doesn’t nullify the fact that they are the most injury-prone team in the league.
One thing that the Houston Texans have never been able to hide from (aside from the Colts), is a flurry of injuries. I’m not talking about ankle sprains to reserve lineman, but rather ACL tears to your Pro Bowl caliber cornerback. Yes, it WAS that bad for the Texans in 2007, who led the league for the second consecutive year in number of players on the Injuired Reserve list with 17. But what can be done about this? Well, besides patience, the options are limited. To accelerate the recovery time for the likes of Dunta Robinson, Andre Johnson, Matt Schaub, Ahman Green, Demeco Ryans, and all else who spent mandatory time on the sideline, Strength and Conditioning coach Dan Riley has devised a plan to keep players off the cart. Riley, a long time NFL coach, has developed numerous individual workout plans for all players who are battling injury, designed to target the area of injury and only strengthen the area of need. Thus, players are able to come back from injury, often, stronger than before. This great news is fully evident for Schaub, who has been praised during OTA’s by Head Coach Gary Kubiak. Kubiak explained that Schaub is now throwing better than ever and that Sage Rosenfels is clearly a valuable piece to the Texans’ offense. Playing with a bad shoulder is no longer a problem for Schaub, but if a problem occurs, Sage will be more than ready to step in and fill the void.
For being the youngest franchise in the NFL, the Texans are coming off their first winning season (8-8) in a tough AFC South, and expect even bigger things from the squad this year. The competition this offseason has pushed starters and Jacoby Jones knows what that pushing is all about. After separating his shoulder in Week 3, Jones seemed to lose his preseason form and fall from third receiver to fourth and only maintain his duties as punt returner. Jones this year, though, is expected to be a very key piece to not only special teams, but to the receiving corps, aswell. If Andre Johnson and Jones can both recover from the injuries that put them out for a combined ten games, then the Texans could possibly have one of the top 4-deep wideout groups in the league.
With a little prayer, the Texans will hopefully be able to drop that league leading 17 IR players to a number a bit lower. But look for the injuries to not hurt the team as much this year, as Kubiak recently confirmed, the Texans appear to be more filled with talent at ALL positions this year, than ever.