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Old 06-02-2005   #18
.. and then?
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Originally Posted by DC_ROCK
The article points out that 2-4 years is how long its taken expansion teams to get to the playoffs. Why do we have a 5 year plan?

Maybe our 5 year plan will help us maintain a playoff caliber team, instead of a one year fluke.
DING!! We're not building for the flash, we're building for the long haul

Originally Posted by nWo
do you think don cpaers will be coach of the texans? If they don't make the playoffs this year, you think he will get fired?
Ignoring the typo if they show some good improvement (per most here looking for the 9 to 10 win range area) then nope. If we get a playoff appearance based off that win range, that's just icing... or gravy... depending on your food preference.

.. and in case the article eventually goes away....
Houston general manager Charley Casserly doesn't make predictions, so don't ask him what to expect from this year's Texans. Ask someone with the Cleveland Browns. Or the Carolina Panthers. Or any of the NFL's expansion clubs the past three decades.

The Texans should have a winning season in their fourth year. And they should make the playoffs.

Casserly won't say that, but he doesn't have to. We were there for the history lesson when Cleveland graduated to the winner's circle in 2002. Not only did the Browns have their first -- and only -- winning season since returning to the NFL in 1999, they reached the playoffs, too.

Unusual? Not really. Carolina and Jacksonville reached the playoffs in their second seasons, with the Panthers advancing to the NFC Championship Game. Seattle and Tampa Bay, expansion teams in 1976, were winners by their fourth seasons, too, with the Bucs making it to the 1979 NFC Championship Game.

Of the NFL's previous five expansion teams, only Seattle failed to reach the playoffs by its fourth year.

Which brings us back to Houston, the club that finished with the same 7-9 record last year that Cleveland authored in its third season. The Texans might have made it the playoffs a year ago were it not for a 1-5 stretch where they were outscored 169-92 and produced no more than 14 points in five of their six starts.

Quarterback David Carr was better, throwing for 16 touchdowns, but he still took too many sacks (49). Running back Domanick Davis had his second consecutive 1,000-yard season and scored 14 times. And wide receiver Andre Johnson provided glimpses of greatness while leading the club in catches (79) and yards receiving (1,142).

But their presence is not what should make the difference.

It's a defense that Casserly thinks is better -- and much better -- than the unit that last year finished 23rd overall and dead last in sacks. He cites the additions of cornerback Phillip Buchanon and linebacker Morlon Greenwood; the draft of defensive tackle Travis Johnson; the move of linebacker Kailee Wong inside; and the talent and depth at cornerback.

"Every year we've gotten better," Casserly said, "and this is our best team so far. I never put predictions on a team. That's not fair to the players. You just have to go play, and see where you are.

"We're a better club, but we just need to take another step and find a way to win more of those close games we haven't won the last couple of years. What's important is to keep improving, and we have. Eventually, the wins come."

The question is: Can "eventually" cut it in Houston, where the Texans are on the clock? Owner Bob McNair is patient, but he knows the history of the NFL -- and it tells him the Texans should be good enough to make a run at the playoffs now.

McNair understands, but don't expect him to lean on the panic button. That's not his nature. He believes his club is better than it was a year ago; he just wants to see how much better.

"I think the results will speak for themselves," McNair said. "Will I be disappointed if we don't make the playoffs? Yes I will be disappointed. But there's no sense of urgency because there are factors that can enter into it that could be the reason for not having a better year. There are always some things you can't control.

"I said all along it will take us four or five years before we would be the kind of club that could go out on the field and compete with anyone and feel like we had just as good a chance of winning the game. And I still feel that way. I have very high standards, but as long as I'm making satisfactory progress I know the results will catch up."

Logic says it happens now. The Texans improved by one win in 2003. They improved by two last season. Two or more victories this year puts them in the black and in the middle of the playoff picture.

Sure, there are always concerns, and with Houston it's not with Carr; it's with his offensive line. Carr, Casserly said, "will continue to improve as we improve around him." He didn't elaborate, but the implication is that the Texans need to improve immediately around him, with the club still searching for a left tackle.

Maybe it finds him, maybe it doesn't. What I know is that this is the year Houston should find itself -- not because Casserly or McNair tell us, but because history does.

Last edited by OzzO; 06-02-2005 at 08:22 AM.
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