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The Houston Texans have had one of the most efficient offensive lines in the NFL the past two seasons. They have perfected the zone-blocking scheme, and they have helped Arian Foster to become one of the best running backs in the NFL.
The Texans offensive line took a major hit this offseason when they lost their starting right guard to the Oakland Raiders. Luckily for the Texans, they have an extremely competent replacement in Antoine Caldwell.
In 2010, Brisiel and Caldwell shared playing, and it was difficult at times to distinguish which lineman was better than the other. Caldwell started seven games that season, and he helped contribute to Arian Foster's rushing title.
In 2011, Caldwell was given the opportunity to compete for the starting job in the preseason. Caldwell, however, was hindered by a high-ankle sprain in the first preseason game, and Brisiel easily took the job as the starter.
Brisiel suffered an injury in Week 14, and Caldwell was given the chance to show he could start in the NFL. Brisiel was inactive for the next three weeks, and this time period showed that the Texans offensive line could be just as effective without Brisiel as it could be with him. Caldwell showed that he could help the offensive line maintain its elite status in his three starts last season, helping Arian Foster to rush for 109 yards in Week 15 and 158 yards in Week 16.
Nevertheless, Caldwell still has to prove that his presence will not hurt the Texans offensive line. Caldwell is going to be a key player going into the 2012 season, and he has the ability to keep the Texans offensive line just as competitive this season as they were last season.