Re: Dreessen, Ryans, Winston, Brisiel, Leach.
I'll take this thread up a notch. Y'all are focusing on these four players, and that's fine, but consider this: Two players remain from the '06, '07, and '08 drafts. We've been told that the team is building through the draft. Well, if that's true, then you have to hit more than you miss and you have to keep the hits as best you can. So either Kubiak did a poor job drafting in those years, or the team has essentially rebuilt again.
By way of contrast, the Steelers, who the Texans have claimed to want to emulate, have at least nine players from their '06-'08 drafts. I don't know their roster and didn't actually check it, so those are just the ones off the top of my head. There may actually be more. I'd be willing to bet the better teams in the NFL have at least six players on their roster still from those three drafts. Player careers average about 3.3 years, so there's a bit of rebuilding involved every year. Therefore, when you hit a winner, you have to find a way to keep them.
Everyone talks about the cap problems that made the Texans lose those players, but the Texans are the ones that put themselves in cap hell. The better teams manage to keep their good players on a more consistent basis. They'll lose guys like Mario Williams, because that's ridiculous, but they'll keep guys like Ryans, Winston, and Dreesen.
The guy running the team has been doing it now for seven full seasons, and three players remain from his first three seasons or earlier. So yeah, it takes seven years to build a winner when you waste the first three years.
A real MVP contributes in all phases of the game.