Growing Pains

In the 2010-2011 season the Texans won their first ever overtime game, had their first ever league leading rusher and league leader in scrimmage yards yet they finished with a 6-10 record. How is this possible? The Texans simply collapsed halfway through the season.

They started out strong, beating the Colts at home then going on the road to Washington to get their first overtime win against the Redskins. Then they lost to the Cowboys at home, went on the road to Oakland and got a win, came back home and got beat down by the Giants then had a last second victory at home against the Kansas City Chiefs. After the Chiefs game the Texans went into the bye week looking good at 4-2, but they lost their leader DeMeco Ryans in that game.

After the bye week the Texans headed up to Indianapolis to play the Colts on Monday Night Football. Even though Arian Foster looked like he was going to have another 200+ yard game against the Colts defense, the Texans still lost. Their defense couldn’t stop Peyton Manning and they couldn’t throw the ball against the Colt’s great pass rush. After the Colts game, everything went downhill. The Texans lost 7 of their next 8 games and essentially collapsed.

Any possible way you can think of to lose a football game, the Texans did it. They lost on last minute drives, hail marys, interceptions returned for touchdowns in overtime and everything else you can imagine. It was really hard to watch. It was even harder to want to blog or write about them. I don’t even understand how people can watch an entire season of Texans football without throwing up a few times. But I watched every single game, every single snap and of course I was disappointed. I felt betrayed by the team that I put so much faith into. I felt swindled by the franchise that took my money when I went to the first 3 home games and they only won once. I felt stupid for ever thinking that the Texans could be a playoff team with a defense that was as bad as the one they had. There were problems everywhere.

But with time comes wisdom, so once the season ended I felt more comfortable talking about the Texans again and now I am writing my first post since then. I can’t be too mad at the Texans, they played hard and they made progress as a franchise like I said at the beginning. There are going to be some growing pains when you start an NFL franchise and the Texans just went through some serious pains in 2010. But this franchise is being constructed the right way, with a great QB in Matt Schaub, who has thrown for over 9,000 yards in the past 2 seasons, a great WR for him to throw to in Andre Johnson, who we all know is a man among boys when it comes to football, and the Texans now have a great RB in Arian Foster who lead the NFL in rushing yards in 2010. The Texans have found their triplets on offense which helped the Cowboys win 3 Superbowls in Dallas.

The only thing left for the Texans to do is fix the defense, so they hired the former Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips, the son of the legendary Oilers coach Bum Phillips to complete the task. Wade’s first order of business is to convert the Texans from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 defense. What does this mean? That instead of using the traditional 4 down linemen and 3 linebackers they will now use 3 down linemen and 4 linebackers with the outside linebackers (OLB) mostly used for rushing the QB. The biggest personnel questions Wade is going to have to answer is who is going to play OLB in his defense and who is he going to bring in to fix the secondary? The Texans secondary was atrocious in 2010 and was one of the worst pass defenses in NFL history. Phillips is going to have to sign some veteran free agents and draft some young talent to patch up the defensive backfield. Phillips is also going to have to figure out if Mario Williams is going to be a good OLB or if he is better suited to play DE. Williams is without question the Texans’ best pass rusher and his skills would be best utilized as an OLB. But if it helped the defense more, Mario Williams might be more helpful as a DE on run downs because he is so big and powerful.

One thing is for sure, the Texans better do a damn good job this offseason or else Texans fans are going to start a boycott if we don’t make it to the playoffs next year.


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