The Texans' most prominent appearance on the NFL landscape in 06 came in April, when this n'er do well franchise used the first overall pick in what was one of the most star studded drafts in recent memory on Mario Williams, a defensive end from NC State. In doing so, they passed on:
- Reggie Bush, everybody's number one in that draft
- Vince Young, the National Championship hero from the University of Texas, who would have given the team instant credibility in the Lone Star State
- D'Brickashaw Ferguson, a left tackle who would have represented an obvious step toward correcting the offensive line problems that everyone keeps reminding you that they've supposedly had for five years.
- Matt Leinart, who most everyone agreed was the most polished of a once in a decade QB class.
Former Texans GM Charlie Casserly decided the Texans didn't need any of those guys, and made Mel Kiper's hair explode by taking Williams. Predictably, Williams came up short of expectations (although he wasn't horrible, with 47 tackles and 4 1/2 sacks), and the franchise missed a huge opportunity to change the Tampa Bay Devil Ray-esque course they have been on since their inception.
So Casserly's outsmarting of himself on draft day loomed over everything the Texans and first year coach Gary Kubiak did last year.
Once the season actually started, the Texans weren't as bad as they were in their horrendous 2-14 05 campaign, but they were a long way from being any good. The team was solidly ensconced in the bottom third of the league on both offense and defense. QB David Carr put the finishing touches on a failed tenure in Houston, and the running game suffered with Ron Dayne, Wali Lundy, and Samkon Gado each taking turns being ineffective as the feature back.
While there wasn't a whole lot to get excited about in this 6-10 campaign, there were a few bright spots. The Texans FINALLY beat the Colts, bringing their lifetime record against the AFC South colossus to 1-9, and they also swept the Jaguars. And while they blew their first round selection, they hit a home run in the second round with Defensive Rookie of the Year DeMeco Ryans.
Look directly above you, and you'll see the 2 biggest moves the Texans made this offseason. Former Falcons backup Matt Schaub replaces David Carr at QB. Schaub has never been a starter in the NFL, and in his 161 career pass attempts he's posted a 69.2 rating with 6 TDs and 6 INTs. And he is good why?
The other guy in this photo is former Packer feature back Ahman Green. Green enjoyed somewhat of renaissance in his 9th pro season, rushing for 1049 yards and getting 373 receiving yards. 30 year old running backs tend to be very limited in what they can give you though, so expect Green to share carries with some mixture of Dayne, Lundy, and Gado.
In addition to not really showing any measurable success in the NFL, Schaub has the added burden of having a horrible receiving corps. Andre "1000" Johnson is a good #1, but there is nothing after that. Kevin Walter, who had 17 catches for 160 yards last year, enters camp as the #2. Shudder.
On defense, the Texans would love to see Williams, Ryans, and corner Dunta Robinson continue to develop into Pro Bowl level players. They think they may have added another player in that class in 10th overall pick DT Amobi Okoye. He'll start right away, and if he is as good as his physical abilities indicate he might be, the Texans could be well on their way to having the best defense in their division very soon.
It's becoming clear that the Texans new plan of attack is to build an elite defense, and hope they can parlay that and an adequate offense into supplanting the Jaguars as the #1 contender in the AFC South. It's a plan that has worked for other teams, and it will be interesting to see how the Texans do with that. The offense though, looks dire, and because of that, I think the best the Texans can hope for is a one or two game improvement on last year's 6 win season. Now you're up to speed on the Texans.