Throughout the 2012 campaign, the Houston Texans struggled mightily with injury issues at inside linebacker. Defensive signal-caller Brian Cushing went down midway through the year, leaving reserves to fill the gap.
This year, though, the Texans hope to have a better contingency plan in place if injuries begin to pile up.
On Wednesday, Houston re-signed inside linebacker Tim Dobbins to a one-year deal. While the 30-year-old veteran is far from a starting-caliber talent, he’ll provide capable depth as a run-support specialist.
Dobbins stepped in last year when Cushing went down, but struggled to replace the production that the former first-round pick provided for the Houston defense. A severely sprained ankle brought his 2012 season to an end before the playoffs began, which forced the Texans to rely on Bradie James and Barrett Ruud during the postseason.
With Dobbins back in the mix in 2013, the Texans have some added insurance at inside linebacker. Although he himself is a bit of health liability, Dobbins can step in as a short-term solution if a starter goes down and has the experience/talent to make plays on occasion. He’s a two-down bruiser who plays the run well and can be effective in coverage from time to time (see last year’s game against the Tennessee Titans).
Above all, the Texans get back their special teams captain and a strong locker room presence. Dobbins is a proven leader out on the field, and should help the Texans maintain the type of intensity that has helped them make playoff runs the last two seasons.
It’s no homerun for the Texans, but they don’t need homeruns right now. What they need is consistent play and depth. For that reason, re-signing Dobbins makes sense.