NFL Team Previews: Houston Texans
AFC East: BUF | MIA | NE | NYJ
AFC North: BAL | CIN | CLE | PIT
AFC South: IND | HOU | JAX | TEN
AFC West: DEN | KAN | OAK | SDG
NFC North: CHI | DET | GBA | MIN
NFC South: ATL | CAR | NOL | TBA
NFC West: ARI | STL | SFO | SEA
The Texans had a busy off-season this year, picking up several free agents in an attempt to both bolster the defense and add depth to the offense.
On defense, they added linebackers Cato June and Buster Davis and tackle Shaun Cody, while on offense they signed quarterbacks Dan Orlovsky and Rex Grossman.
The draft continued to concentrate on the same issues. This was probably the first draft in franchise history where the Texans were simply looking to add pieces to the puzzle instead of franchise players.
They again bolstered the defense, most notably the linebacker unit, with Brian Cushing, and later added DE Connor Barwin. In the third round they were able to draft Antoine Caldwell, who can play both center and guard.
Three burning questions
Will Matt Schaub take the next step towards the upper echelon of NFL QB's?
Matt Schaub seems to have everything he needs to have in place in order to have a 4000+ yard, 25+ TD season.
With Caldwell added to an offensive line that already features Duane Brown and Chester Pitts, the Texans will likely feature the best offensive line they've ever had, so protection should be in place.
Schaub certainly has help from the running game and Steve Slaton, and he certainly has the play-makers to throw to, Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels, and Kevin Walter.
Consider Schaub to be the AFC's version of Jason Campbell, a guy who finally has to get it done.
How good can the front seven really be?
Last season, the defense was a disappointing 22nd in the league, and an even more disappointing 27th in scoring defense.
But, this is a team that features some of the best young defenders in the league, including Mario Williams and DeMeco Ryans.
Throw in Cushing and June to the LB's, add Barwin to a line already featuring Williams and Amobi Okoye, and the Texans front seven should be vastly improved.
Will the secondary keep the Texans out of the playoffs?
The biggest news in Houston is really the news nobody seems to want to talk about, the unsigned franchise tender of Dunta Robinson. Without him, this secondary is suspect at best, and flat out bad at worst.
Antwaun Molden is okay, and they recently signed veteran Deltha O'Neal, and Jacques Reeves is out for two months. There will be pressure quickly on Fred Bennett and safety Eugene Wilson.
It is not an understatement to say that the success of the Texans' season rests solely on the play of the secondary.
Good play: Obviously the two guys who will be drafted the earliest, Slaton and Andre Johnson. Slaton has made himself a first round draft pick, and the Texans may concentrate on him quite a bit to keep a Time of Possession edge. Andre Johnson will be one of the first receivers off the board. Owen Daniels should be a fairly highly selected TE as well.
Avoid: Do not play the Texans defense, in spite of Mario Williams. Even with Williams, the defense only totaled 25 sacks in 2008, and they also only had 12 Interceptions, a total that likely won't increase unless Robinson decides to play.
Sleeper: A bit of a sleeper, since he certainly isn't among the top group of fantasy QB's at the moment, is Schaub. This should be the year he sees a spike in stats, and he may be a great play for you around the fourth or fifth round of the draft.
For the prognosis and final record, read the originally posted article here.
This is an original article by Pigskin Heaven Staffer, Sascha Bartels. You can read it, more of Sascha's articles, and more from the Pigskin Heaven staff here.
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