Missing Piece: LaDainian Tomlinson Would Bring the Playoffs to Houston

Evan HigginsCorrespondent IIFebruary 25, 2010

SAN DIEGO - DECEMBER 20:  Running back LaDainian Tomlinson #21 of the San Diego Chargers carries the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals on December 20, 2009 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.    (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Houston Texans are not far away from competing with the high level franchises. They have multiple Pro Bowl players in quarterback Matt Schaub, receiver Andre Johnson, defensive end Mario Williams and linebacker Demeco Ryans. 

Although, Houston has yet to make the postseason in their eight-year franchise. 

In those eight years they have a 49-79 record, including a 25-23 record the past three.

This is an important off-season for the Texans, who hope to assure a playoff spot after barely missing it last season, finishing with a 9-7 record.

Houston has a great passing game with quarterback Matt Schaub, and one of the league's best receivers, Andre Johnson. On defense, Pro Bowlers Mario Williams and Demeco Ryans make this a tough defense to go against.

Though the biggest hole on this team is at running back. Steve Slaton looked to fit the part after his rookie season, finishing with 1,282 yards and nine touchdowns.

But his sophomore slump was extremely tough to watch, as he got benched multiple times for Ryan Moats.

Slaton finished the season with only 437 yards and three touchdowns.

Houston only needs to add a few more pieces to this team before they become something special. They remind me a lot of the 2003 Carolina Panthers, who made an unexpected Super Bowl, surprisingly finishing with a 11-5 record.

They need to add some depth offensive line, defensive line, linebackers and defensive backs.

But most importantly, a dominant running back.

Who's the answer and running back? LaDainian Tomlinson

He may not produce as well as he once did, but he still has a lot of gas in the tank that needs to be unloaded with a new team.

Tomlinson, the player a couple years ago, any team would give the world to have on their team. A former MVP and first player taken in every fantasy football league was every running backs role model. He was as good as it got in the NFL.

But the past two seasons, Tomlinson has taken a dip in his production and stats. He's been able to rack up touchdown, but all he's pretty much been is a goal-line back.

With his dip in production, San Diego released Tomlinson earlier this week as expected, ending his successful nine-year career with the Chargers. 

Although some would argue, at only 30 years of age, Tomlinson's legendary career is not over. Remember, this is the same player that set the single-season touchdown record of 28 just three seasons ago.

Giving him a chance to start over with a new club where he can share the load with a younger, faster back would be good for him.

He'd also be returning to his home town in Texas.

I believe he'd be a perfect fit with the Texans. He and Steve Slaton can share the load, giving them a two back system with a small, quick back along with a bigger, powerful back.

Houston is so close to being a playoff-caliber team. With just a few holes filled this off-season, I see them quickly making it to the playoffs, and maybe even reaching a Super Bowl sooner then we think.