The Biggest Media Misconceptions About the Houston Texans
In the past few season, the Texans have experienced many media misconceptions. The major one that comes to mind was the idea thrown out by the media every single season that the Texans were dark-horse candidates to make the playoffs.
Yet, the Texans never made the playoffs until last season, but the media continued to crown the Texans as perennial dark-horse favorites.
Some of these misconceptions media now holds for the Texans can be overly critical of the team, while others allot the Texans much more praise than is deserved.
What are four of these misconceptions and why are they wrong?
Let's find out.
The Texans Have the Division in the Bag
By far the most common and widespread idea held by the media about the Texans is that the division has been wrapped up and presented to the Texans as a gift.
This misconception is as wrong as it is dangerous. This idea can plant the seed of overconfidence in the heads of the Texans' young players, and if this seed is allowed to grow then the Texans will face serious problems. Whenever a team expects to win, it is likely the opposite will be achieved.
Now, while the Texans athletes need to realize it is imperative for them to ignore this idea, it is also important for them to realize his misconception shown above in the video and below from an article by Yahoo! could be far from the truth.
In 2012, the Texans no longer have to worry about Peyton Manning and the Colts are a long ways from contending again. With the reliable offensive weapons and Phillips improved defense, there is no reason that Houston won't dominate the South for years to come.
The balance of power shifts constantly in the NFL, and this could be proven no better than the fact the Texans rose out of the ashes of continuous disappointment to claim their first division title in franchise history. Also, the Cincinnati Bengals, who were expected to be one of the worst teams in the NFL last season, actually competed and claimed a Wild Card spot.
As it happens with at least one NFL team every season, it is quite possible one of the other division teams could step up and win the division. This is not to say that it will happen, as the Texans should clearly be favorites to repeat as division champions, but the possibility should not be discredited.
Jacksonville have a very solid defense, and if Blaine Gabbert can make the improvement that Jaguars fans are praying he does, that team could be very dangerous. The Titans could also prove to be a threat to the Texans, as their offense may become very scary next season if Kenny Britt can stay healthy and if Chris Johnson can return to form.
While it is extremely probable the Texans will win the division, it is wrong for the media to assume the Texans already have it in the bag.
The DeMeco Ryans Trade Severely Hurt the Texans
The most fair critiques were the ones the truthfully claimed the Texans had gotten rid of a vital leader to the team. Ryans was the heart and soul of the Texans defense, and his leadership responsibilities must be replaced, whether by Brian Cushing or Bradie James.
However, the criticisms that claimed the Texans defense had experienced an extreme drop-off in talent were just plain wrong. While that may be true if the defense still utilized a 4-3 scheme, the fact of the matter is that Ryans simply could not adjust to playing in Wade Phillips' 3-4 defensive scheme.
Ryans only played approximated 50 percent of the defensive snaps, and that number may have been much less if Darryl Sharpton had not been placed on the IR. Sharpton was clearly outplaying Ryans early in the season, as Ryans showed that he could not be successful in a 3-4 scheme.
If Sharpton and James can stay healthy for the majority of the 2012 season, the Texans should actually see an increase of production from the middle linebacker position, not a drop-off.
Gary Kubiak Is Now a Great Head Coach
After his firing was demanded by fans and media alike after the 2010 season, Gary Kubiak was awarded with the 2011 AFC Coach of the Year award at the 42nd Annual NFL 101 Awards banquet.
The fact, though, is that the person who is truly deserving of this award is not a head coach at all, but a defensive coordinator. Yes, Kubiak did an impressive job of keeping the offense together after Arian Foster, Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub all went down due to injury.
Kubiak, however, has always been an offensive genius for the Texans, but that has never gotten the team over the precipice. What finally got the Texans over the edge was the signing of Wade Phillips as the team's defensive coordinator.
Phillips managed to take one of the league's worst defenses in recent memory and transform it into one of the scariest, defensive units in the NFL. This fact, paired with Kubiak's masterful offensive prowess, was what actually allowed the Texans to make their first-ever postseason appearance.
If Phillips had not become the team's defensive coordinator, it is very likely the Texans defense would not have improved so drastically, which would make it even more probable that the cries for Kubiak's firing would have been even louder.
The Offensive Line Is a Major Weakness
When Eric Winston was cut and Mike Brisiel was allowed to slip out of the Texans' grasp in free agency, the media immediately attacked and claimed the Texans offensive line would go from being a strength of the team to possibly being a major weakness.
The truth, though, is that the Texans offensive line is much better off than it is depicted to be. Eric Winston was considered the weak link on the line last season, and for good reason. He was weak as a pass-blocker and obviously was the line's worst rush-blocker, as the majority of the contact Arian Foster sustained was from one of Winston's assignments.
Winston's replacement, Rashad Butler, has played as a starter in the NFL before (when Duane Brown served a four-game suspension), and while his play was not stellar, he showed he could eventually be successful in the zone blocking scheme.
Now with a full offseason to prepare for his new duties, Butler has reportedly been working as hard as he possibly could to make himself ready for the upcoming season. This is nothing but positive news for Texans fans, as Butler is going to be the primary concern on the offensive line heading into next season.
Antoine Caldwell, on the other hand, should have Texans fans much more relaxed. Caldwell, too, has experience as a starter in the NFL, the most recent example came when he replaced Brisiel at the end out last season and allowed Foster to rush for multiple 100-yard games.
Caldwell, in addition, has been competing for the starting right guard position with Brisiel throughout his whole career. And, in several cases, the only reason he did not win the job was because he suffered an untimely injury.
The Texans offensive line should be a concern for the media and fans alike for the upcoming season, but it should definitely not be a major weakness.