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Old 07-08-2008   #12
Wolf
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Default Texans’ burning question: Ready for a breakout season?

http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slu...=tsn&type=lgns

Quote:
The Houston Texans have shown some promise the past two years, indicating they were close to turning the corner and making the franchise’s first playoff appearance. Unfortunately, the Texans also reside in the AFC South, one of the NFL’s two toughest divisions.

The Texans’ 8-8 finish last season would have been good enough for second place in five other divisions. In their own division, however, they were stuck in last place, watching as Indianapolis, Jacksonville and Tennessee all advanced to the playoffs.

The Texans’ biggest playoff hurdle starts with those three teams. The Texans were 1-5 against AFC South teams last season, allowing 33.2 points on average to division foes. The Texans lone intra-division win came against the Jaguars in Week 17, when Jacksonville was resting its key players with its playoff position predetermined.

It’s hard to recover from such a lopsided division record, because it leaves little room for error throughout the rest of the schedule. The Texans were fortunate just to get to .500, getting a break with games against the lesser teams in the NFC South and AFC West.

Defense was Houston’s biggest problem, and what ails them goes beyond allowing a whole lot of points. The Texans weren’t particularly good at defending the run or pass. Their defense came away with a league-low 11 interceptions. They were average in the sack department (31), but the stat was somewhat inflated because 19 1/2 came from end Mario Williams and tackle Amobi Okoye.

Williams, Okoye and middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans are great young talents, but the team has a ways to go to fill the holes around them in the front seven of their 4-3 scheme. There also is a major concern in the secondary, where the Texans will have to perform without their best cornerback, Dunta Robinson, for at least half the season as he recovers from knee and hamstring injuries.
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