AFC South Experiments: The Houston Texans' Offensive Personnel

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistJuly 18, 2012

Garrett Graham is part of the big experiment in Houston.
Garrett Graham is part of the big experiment in Houston.Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Gary Kubiak has a keen, but contrarian offensive mind.

His run-heavy, bootleg-intensive schemes go against the grain of the way most offenses are built these days, but that hasn't stopped the Texans from being one of the most prolific offenses in football over the past half-decade.

Kubiak will need all his skill this year, however, as the Texans are trying to restock their offense on the fly.

The "AFC South Experiment" series has largely focused on philosophical schematic changes by teams in the division, but the Texans are trying to change the ingredients of their offense without altering what has been a successful recipe.

The core of the attack will be fundamentally unaltered with Arian Foster and Ben Tate looking to bludgeon opposing defenses behind a classic Texans zone blocking scheme.

With changes along the offensive line, tight end position and the receivers, however, the rest of the offense is getting a personnel makeover.

Writing about the Texans is a struggle because their issues are fairly obvious, and I've covered each of them several times. Any time a relative weakness is highlighted, it distorts its importance. 

There's a good probability the Texans line will gel, or that Garrett Graham will develop and pick up some of the slack for the departed Joel Dreessen. Even the wideout problem, which I view as serious, can be resolved if even one of the young options on the roster steps forward. Even if none of the worry-spots fully work themselves out, the team is probably good enough to win the South anyway.

The advantage the Texans have in this case is stability. For the most part, they are asking players on the roster to step into larger roles, as opposed to asking them to do things they've never done because of a system change.

In that spirit, the real experiment for Houston was conducted in March when the front office made hard choices to put the team in a better cap position. For the first time in a long time, the Texans weren't buyers in free agency, but chose to let expensive veterans walk in favor of promoting from within.

In other words, the experiment is complete in Houston.

It's time to see the results.