Since I’m a big fan of the NFL and MLB, the offseason often times feels like it takes longer to go through than the actual season itself (unless you are an Astros fan, then the offseason is best time of the year because they can’t lose when games aren’t being played). There is always excitement as training camp starts up and fans are able to attend the open practices. For many years, however, there has been an outcry from both the fans and players to shorten the preseason schedule. There has been talk with the possibility of adding two more games to the regular season that two games from the preseason will be taken away. I understand where the players are coming from when they want less preseason games because that means less opportunities to get hurt. However, this preseason might be the most important in franchise history for the Texans.
It is safe to say that ever since the Texans finished 8-8 during the 2007, expectations have been high for the team. As everyone knows, they haven’t been able to take that next step. Whether it is because of injuries to key players or no ground game or as in the case of last year, a defense that had 11 players on the field but often times played like there were only 4 players on defense. At the beginning of every year there is always hope that this will be the year that the Texans make the playoffs. I find it funny that now because Wade Phillips is now the defensive coordinator, that the defense will be significantly better. Sure he is known as a defensive specialist but he has not even had one day of practice to go over everything and help make the transition from the 4-3 defense to the 3-4 defense.
Before people go on and on about how this is the Texans’ year, how about we watch to see if the defense actually improves? That is why the Texans need all four games this preseason to continue to work on the new scheme and make sure each player knows their role and what they are supposed to do. That’s why they need this lockout to end as soon as possible so that they can get on the practice field and let Phillips do his thing and hopefully turn this defense into one that is at least respected in the NFL. The secondary is still young and needs to improve immensely. Kareem Jackson needs to mature in a hurry on and off the field. He played most of the 2010 season like an undrafted rookie than a first round pick. I’m not really sure if Glover Quinn is the answer at safety as well. It was not like he had a strong year either. Sure he had three interceptions in one game but that was against a rookie quarterback making his first start in the NFL. It will be interesting to see how Quinn and Jackson develop and see how much rookies Brandon Harris and Shiloh Keo are able to contribute. Their jobs will be a lot easier if the Texans are able, for once, to get a consistent pass rush on the quarterback. Somebody has to step up to take the pressure off of Mario Williams. Whether that is Antonio Smith or J.J. Watt or Brooks Reed or whoever. In two of the first three games of the season, the Texans will face Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, both quarterbacks that have won Super Bowls. They know what it takes. One day it will be nice to hear that the Texans know what it takes to win not just a Super Bowl but the big games on the biggest stages.
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