Originally Posted by GP
I think head coach is our biggest need.
Someone who is adaptive and can make changes on-the-fly instead of trying to prove that his long-held traditions and philosophies are fool-proof in an NFL that is growing more adaptive every year via rule changes that help QBs and WRs.
Otherwise, we're just baby-stepping our way every season...hoping to patch something that broke the previous season. You can't move forward when you're always pulling over on the side of the road and duct-taping some random part that keeps breaking down.
For all that he has done to move us up from the Capers era, he's had an incredible amount of time to identify and develop talent at QB, WR, TE, RB, and OL. We're left with shaky QB, shaky OL, aging TE, inconsistent RB performances (due to shaky OL and shaky QB), and deficiencies galore at WR.
But hey, I'll get back on topic:
1.) ILB is the biggest need.
2.) DE or DT is next biggest need.
Those two spots make our defense better, and inherently makes the offense better (sort of).
3.) WR. Duh.
4.) OL. Because we aren't spending money on a FA guy, it's impossible due to cap.
5.) QB. Continue to shake the tree and see what falls off the branches.
6.) P. Yeah, this position is important all Jaguars jokes aside. It can alter a game. No more shanks.
I agree with some of the criticism Kubiak is receiving for his inability to adapt quickly. However, I do not think he is to blame for personnel deficiencies this year. Part of it is inevitable given the cap era. Also, I believe the Texans have taken a financially conservative approach to the cap and have chosen not to take advantage of some of the loopholes (like the rollover cap money from 2011) and some of the ways to manipulate the cap slightly with bonuses, etc...This decision falls on McNair and/or our capologist. A more aggressive approach last year would have enabled the team to keep some combination of Winston/Ryans/Dreessen, which would have made the team look very different, IMO.
Regarding personnel moving into the off-season:
2. TE (a size + speed guy).. I think we will likely (wisely) go TE in round one.
3. WR (speed guy)
4. S (assuming we re-sign Quin, we still need a 3rd safety.. Wade loves going three safeties in dime defenses.
5.FB (a situational thumper, not an every down guy)
I think that's it, need-wise...
Weaknesses that can be solved internally:
RT: I believe Butler has one year left on his contract and should be healthy. We could also re-sign Ryan Harris.. and, Mondek has potential from the practice squad. I think Newton is already serviceable and has a high ceiling. If tight end is addressed, I think RT becomes much less of a concern.
RG: Brooks, with an off-season, should secure the job and Jones is an adequate backup, IMO. Losing Shelley Smith was a mistake but it's done. I don't think it is a pressing need unless we cut Wade Smith. Caldwell, I believe, will be signed away (potential 5th or 6th round compensatory pick compensation).
CB: I think we lose McCain and Ball... Our starters are strong and I became a believer in Brandon Harris at the conclusion of the season. Carmichael has potential and is an adequate #4, assuming we build quality depth at safety.
DL: I think we're good if we can count on Jamison returning to form... He gives us (with Crick) 5 reliable defensive linemen with the loss of Cody. I think Hunter may be a quality candidate to take some snaps at NT, particularly in short yardage.
P: Donnie Jones actually did a good job, though it isn't as fun as watching some of those boomers like Lechler punt.
ST: I think our problem on special teams resulted from our lack of depth at TE, LB, FB, and Safety... those three positions make up most of the quality players on special teams units. Addressing those positions will solve our kick and punt coverage issues and also improve our return game, I believe.
Here is my forecast (educated guess with a tiny bit of optimism sprinkled in) for our draft, including compensatory picks in Bold (they can't be traded).
27. TE stud
** clearly, I don't think they would lay out a formula, determining what position they'd take each round. But, I think this is a fair representation of what they'll be looking to do in the draft/UDFA period in late April- dependent on free agent net gains and losses (particularly Quin, Barwin, Casey, McCain)