In the past couple of years, Houston fans have had it rough. The Astros haven’t made the playoffs since they went to the World Series in 2005. The Rockets haven’t made the playoffs since losing to the Lakers in the second round of the 08-09 season. And the Texans, well, they just haven’t taken that step yet. We have been waiting for what seems like forever. At the start of every season fans find themselves asking, “Will this be the year?” So far, that answer has been no. When will the playoff drought end?
Since the end of the 2005 season, the Astros have seen the likes of cornerstones and future Hall of Famers, Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio, retire. Fans have seen Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens flee back to the Yankees and now they too are out of the game. And then there are the trades. In just about a year, the Astros traded their four most popular players. Roy Oswalt and Hunter Pence found their way to the Phillies, Lance Berkman went to the Yankees, and Michael Bourn went to the Braves. Just by looking at the trades, it seems they got very little in return. The Houston Astros once used to be a top organization in Major League Baseball, now they field a team that resembles a Triple A team. It appears that they won’t be heading back to the playoffs in quite some time.
The Rockets seem to be missing that one piece. While the big offseason last year, the Rockets didn’t land anyone. No Bosh, no Joe Johnson, no one. While Daryl Morey has done a great job of putting pieces together from the draft, they still lack that superstar player. Yao Ming is gone. His career was cut short because of injuries. Many fans find themselves asking, “What if?” What if McGrady and Yao had been able to stay healthy together? Sure the Rockets are fun to watch most of the time, but even that grows old if their season ends after 82 games. They made a run at Carmelo Anthony and missed and now there are whispers that they could go after Dwight Howard. Whatever they do, they need to bring in that one key player that can take them over the top. The pieces are there, now they just have to do something to get back into the playoffs.
And now the Texans. Yes we all suffered horribly through the David Carr/Dom Capers era, and even though fans don’t like to admit it, the Texans have taken strides in the right direction. Definitely not as fast as everyone would like. Finally, this season seems to be the one (just like the past three seasons). They were able to make a splash in free agency this summer and get Jonathan Joseph and Danieal Manning to help out the secondary. The offense is returning the leading rusher from last year and arguably the best receiver in the NFL. They have a quarterback that is on the verge of becoming a Top 5 QB. Their time is now. The first four games will say how far the Texans have really come. The defense has to make huge strides just to get back to respectability. Two years ago, Texans fans watched as the Jets dismantled the Bengals in the final game of the season and with that they watched our playoff hopes go out the window. Maybe this year, things will be different. Maybe this year, the Texans will catch a few breaks and get lucky. Or quite frankly, maybe this is the year that the playoff drought will end in Houston.
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