There’s something to be said for consistency, and in the AFC, few teams exemplify that better than the Houston Texans.
Yes, teams like the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers always seem to find a way into the late-round playoff picture. And yes, there are several teams capable of compiling a 12-plus-win season every single year.
But in the last two seasons, Houston has been the model of consistency on both sides of the ball, never far from the top of the rankings in any particular category.
The Texans fielded the No. 7 offense and No. 7 defense in 2012, piecing together a 12-4 record and an AFC South title. But just like the year prior, they were unable to parlay that success into anything more than a first-round playoff win and a divisional round exit.
This offseason has been about sustaining that success, while taking an extra step to break through the barrier.
The Texans kept their core in place this offseason, losing only a couple key contributors to free agency, but they also infused additional talent on both the free agent market and via the NFL draft.
Connor Barwin and Glover Quin were arguably the biggest names to depart for new teams this offseason, but Houston did well to select a couple of replacements without skipping a beat. In the second round of the draft, general manager Rick Smith selected South Carolina safety D.J. Swearinger, and also added veteran safety Ed Reed in free agency to fill the hole left by Quin.
Barwin and his 19 sacks in four years with the team will arguably be a little harder to replace, but the Texans have some pieces in place to do so, including 2012 first-rounder Whitney Mercilus.
But apart from a couple of depth signings and the addition of All-Pro punter Shane Lechler, there wasn’t much more movement to speak of this offseason. All things considered, Houston did well in maintaining continuity on its roster, setting the table for another successful campaign in 2013.
We’ll take a closer look at some of those offseason moves, as well as the 2013 NFL draft and a few positions to keep an eye on as the season draws near. Read on.