The "Bulls on Parade" defense was still solid, but their performance and the appeal of the nickname lost its edge last season.
The Houston Texans defense still ranked inside the top five for passing yards allowed but finished dead last in interceptions, 23rd in rushing yards allowed, 24th in points allowed and tied for 29th in sacks.
You could say that they have work to do coming into this season.
The addition of Wade Phillips helped the defense make a gigantic jump in the right direction in 2011, but as you saw by last year's numbers, they've been unable to sustain that early success. In 2011, it took the addition of a new coordinator, several free agents and rookies to turn the defense around.
It will take a similar commitment to fix their issues this time around.
The good news is they've already taken a great first step in that direction with the additions of Jadeveon Clowney and Louis Nix III. Those two players both fit huge needs on this defense, and their addition alone will make an impact.
It won't only be the rookies that the coaching staff will expect and need to perform quickly, though. They'll also need some familiar faces to fill bigger roles than in previous seasons.
A few players—like Jared Crick and Brandon Harris, who were used infrequently by the previous coaching staff—could get more playing time this year and be asked to fill bigger shoes. Both players should be capable of doing more than they have so far in their career, but how much more is a big question that needs to be answered before we know how good this defense can be.
Over the following slides, I'll break down where those two players fit at their position and who you should expect to see starting at every other position as well.