The NFL Draft is officially 30 days away. Let’s take a look at the Texans’ off-season score card up to this point:
out – DC Richard Smith, DLC Jethro Franklin, DBC Jon Hoke, Trainer Kevin Bastin, Conditioning Coach Dan Riley
in – DC Frank Bush, DLC Bill Kolar, DBC David Gibbs
summary – On New Year’s Eve, GM Rick Smith finally pulled the plug on a defensive coaching staff that many had been calling to be fired for some time. The fact of the matter is that our defense is loaded with too many superstars for it to perform as badly as it did last season and the coaches had to be held accountable. Those in the “know” believe Frank Bush is long overdue a shot to oversee a defense. His solid relationship with Kubiak and Smith adds that much more to the cohesiveness we’re trying to build in this organization, top to bottom. Kolar is a 20 year NFL coaching vet who has had a hand in the development of pass rushers such as Leonard Little and Aaron Schoebel. If nothing else the addition of David Gibbs served to ensure that his father, NFL offensive line guru Alex Gibbs, would return for another tour of duty with the team. It has also been made official that OC Kyle Shanahan will call the plays next season. I think a sign of most great coaches is their ability to delegate duties on gameday so that can manage the game more efficiently, and I think this move will push Kubiak another step closer to that classification.
out – RB Ahman Green, OT Ephraim Salaam, QB Sage Rosenfels,
in – QB Dan Orlovsky
summary – After three years of service the Texans have allowed Sage Rosenfels to spread his wings with a shot as a starter, trading him to the Vikings for a 4th round pick. Taking his place is former Lion Dan Orlovsky. Many casual fans will point to the bonehead safety he took against the Vikings last season and call this a bad move. Few remember that Orlovsky was the quarterback that basically built the UConn football program from ground up who now challenge for a Big East title every year. Hopefully Schaub will stay healthy and we will never have to see Orlovsky take the field, but I think there is a lot of potential there. Good Riddance Ahman Green. If the Kubiak and Smith have learned anything during their tenure its that they can find cheap talent at running back in the draft and it make 0 sense to bring in a high-priced, over-the-hill back to get paid to rehab. Salaam’s days were numbered when the team drafted Duane Brown last season, and his release illustrates the evolution of our offensive line from one that perennially stood out as a weakness to one that is now a relative area of strength.
out – LB Morlon Greenwood, S Will Demps, DE Anthony Weaver, DE Earl Cochran
in – DE Antonio Smith, DT Shaun Cody
summary – This is what you call “cutting the fat.” Greenwood and Demps went from fantastic overachievers to expendable in just one season. We all knew Weaver’s days were numbered as the team continued to improve in spite of his pathetic production during his tenure (1 sack in 3 seasons). Cody is a USC guy whose career has been hampered by injuries thus far, although many agree that a change of scenery and a little luck could make him a steal for this unit. Smith was the perfect balance of talent and value to fill the vacancy left by Weaver’s departure. He is a three down lineman who should be disruptive enough to make life a little easier for Mario Williams on the other side of the line. In any case, the additions of Smith and Cody to our defensive unit provide more depth, competition, and allow us flexibility in the draft. We may still be in the market for a DL with pick #15. Fortunately these FA acquisitions alleviate the pressure of having to bring in a rookie to be an every down player.