First, I'd like to thank Fiddy for displaying his research. Good work.
And I think you have made a strong point about Davis. But I can take the same data, and make a case that the Texan coaching staff made a decision to become more conservative due to Carr's injuries. Yeah, Domanick's prowess facilitated those game plans. But, the Texans probably would have gone that way even if Mack had been the back. I just feel the Texans were for the most part concerned about Carr's health and the ability to keep Banks on the field. They knew then what we would find out in the late season Florida road trip...Ragone was not ready. Had Carr been healthy all year long, we would have seen a less conservative offense.
So the question you're asking is "What offense will we see in '04?". The Carr driven air attack or the DD small ball? I'd guess some of both, and a little extra on the side. I think we'll see a bunch of double TE sets that will try to spread the defense and allow Davis (or Hollings) to find holes into the secondary. And I think we'll see 3 WR sets where the Texans will try to take advantage of the opponents weaker DB's. As a bonus, I expect more play action passes on 1st down, taking full benefit of the accomplished rushing attack.
On paper, look how far the talent base has grown from entering year 2 to this season:
WR - A full offseason for AJ and another for Gaffney. Remember, this would have been Jabar's true rookie season had he played out his eligibility at Florida.
TE - A veteran blocking TE in Bruener and a young multi-purpose guy in Joppru. Plus, Miller is still one of the more reliable receivers at TE in the league.
T - Two huge, long armed, prototype tackles in Wade and Wand. With a new blocking scheme designed for their maximum effectiveness.
G - Pitt’s physical style making him likely to become one of the better guards in the AFC by the end of the season. Plus, Wiegert's 2nd year in the system.
C - An extra season of experience at center for McKinney.
FB - Two functional NFL FB's with Baxter being the better runner/receiver and Norris the better blocker.
RB - Two gifted young RB's with a full offseason under their belt. While Davis has already developed into a prominent dual threat, Hollings could well be one of the top 5 fastest RB's in the NFL.
QB - Not only an extra year of experience for Carr, but Ragone's 1st full NFL offseason. By the end of training camp, Dave could be hailed as the most improved player on this team. The man does have the physical ability to play and play well in this league.
I expect the Texans to build on last year's early season passing performance and combine that with the ground game that Davis provided. By the season's end, this should be an offense that can take control of a game pull out the victories that eluded them last year.