Houston Texans Defense: It Could Be Worse, Couldn't It?

Rick BrokawCorrespondent IDecember 24, 2010

Rookie CB Kareem Jackson struggles to defend against NY Giants WR Steve Smith
Rookie CB Kareem Jackson struggles to defend against NY Giants WR Steve SmithBob Levey/Getty Images

For most of the 2010 season the Houston Texans defense has been analyzed, scrutinized, and criticized by fans and sports announcers around the country. They have been quick to point out the gaping holes in the secondary, the way the defense seems to lack a certain "spark," or how rookie cornerback Kareem Jackson needed to be benched. But, don't give up hope Texans' fans, the defense is not the worst in the league!

In fact, Houston ranks No. 9 in the league for yards allowed on the ground (1,427). This averages out to 101.9 yards/game and is an impressive stat considering the Texans had to defend against Maurice Jones-Drew, Chris Johnson, and Darren McFadden—all three of whom are among the league's best. 

Where the obvious problem lies, then, is with the passing defense. The Texans have given up 3,851 yards through the air, an average of 275.1 yards/game. This team record in on pace to be an NFL all-time worst as the Atlanta Falcons, in 1995, allowed an average of 283.8 yards/game through the air. 

Oddly enough, however, is the fact that the AFC East New England Patriots have allowed 3,686 yards through the air (an average of 263.3 yards/game). Their pass defense is almost as riddling as that of the Texans yet they have managed a 12-2 record at this point and will be going to the playoffs. 

The problem is that the Texans are in the AFC South where they must compete with the likes of the Colts, Titans, and Jaguars. In this league you cannot allow offenses to throw the ball all day long, because they will! 

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Many analysts gave the Texans the benefit of the doubt at the beginning of this season, labeling the team the "Dark Horse" of the NFL. Some of them projected a run into the playoffs for Houston this season, but lo, how far the team has fallen.

This defense could, in fact, be worse than it already is. It could allow teams to gain as many yards on the ground as they do through the air, but it hasn't. The Texans are still a young team trying to find their identity.

When they do, and when they finally get that "spark" in their defense, opposing teams will have to watch out!  They already have one of the best offenses in the league and, when combined with a strong defense, will shake up the AFC!