A lot of people would think that there isn’t much room for improvement for the Texans’ offense. In the last three seasons, the Texans have been ranked either #3 or #4 in total offense. In 2008 and 2010, the Texans’ passing game ranked 4th best in the NFL while in 2009 it was ranked the best passing game in the league. The running game has always been a question mark for the Texans in their existence. In 2009, they were ranked 30th in the league in rushing but jumped all the way up to #7 in 2010 largely in part of Arian Foster coming onto the scene and leading the league in rushing.
Looking at those numbers would suggest that the Texans need a more stable rushing attack. While that might be true, I don’t think that is what they should be concerned about. Foster will be back next year along with Derrick Ward and Ben Tate, who was competing with Foster for the starting job until he got hurt in the preseason. Assuming the Texans bring back Vonta Leach, there is no reason to think the Texans won’t take another step forward with the running game next year.
To me, the real question to the offense comes forth when talking about the receivers on the team. That seems silly to think of considering their offense boasts Andre Johnson who is arguably the best receiver in the game today. As we saw last year, he isn’t superman. He dealt with his fair share of injuries last year. His receptions dropped from 101 in 2009 to 86 in 2010. Keep in mind that he did miss three games but again that brings up the injury issue. If Andre Johnson is going to have to miss games, somebody needs to step up. Kevin Walter’s stats were nearly identical in 2009 as there in 2010. He is a good constant on the team but is really a #2 type receiver. Jacoby Jones saw his production pick up in 2010 when he had 51 receptions whereas in 2009 he only had 27. However, most fans held their breath when they saw that the ball was headed his way. He still has a lot of work to do with his hands and he is also a free agent. Arian Foster was actually the team’s second leading receiver in terms of receptions by catching 66 passes out of the backfield. Owen Daniels came on strong towards the end of the year after fully recovering from a knee injury.
Whenever free agency starts, there are a lot of different options out there for the Texans. While most fans want the Texans to open up the wallet for a big time cornerback, I would also like for them to go after another receiver that can fill in to the #2 slot and move Walter to the #3 slot on the depth chart. Some of the free agents this offseason are: Randy Moss (Titans), Terrell Owens (Bengals), James Jones (Packers), Malcom Floyd (Chargers), Brad Smith (Jets), Steve Smith (Giants), Santana Moss (Redskins), Vincent Jackson (Chargers), Santonio Holmes (Jets), and Sidney Rice (Vikings). I would definitely stay away from Moss and Owens. The Texans don’t need their personalities in the locker room unless they are trying to get on the HBO show Hard Knocks. With the exception of Brad Smith, all of those receivers are looking to get #1 receiver type money. To me, the most interesting choice would be James Jones. He has just come off of a Super Bowl victory and knows what it takes to get there. The Texans need someone in the locker room that has been a champion for to make the players on the team strive to get better and reach that goal. He had a decent year in Green Bay and is only 27 years old which is two years younger than Johnson or Walter. Another intriguing option would be Sidney Rice. He was hurt for much of last year but if he was able to produce the way he did in 2009 he would be worth the risk. That would assume that he would take a pay cut and be willing to play behind Johnson on the depth chart. Or could there possibly be an in-house option for the Texans? All I’ve heard is good things about Dorin Dickerson, the 7th round pick from last year’s draft.
There were rumblings before the draft that the Texans were thinking about taking a receiver with their #1 pick but with A.J. Green and Julio Jones off the board, they clearly went another direction. I don’t know if they were ever really planning on drafting a receiver that early but I did expect them to go out and draft one at some point and they never did. It will be interesting to see what they do in free agency and see if they go after a wide receiver that is mentioned above or if they choose to stick to their own guys.