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Old 07-11-2004   #1
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Default SCOUT'S HONOR: Texans pre-camp preview

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Houston Texans

CAMP SITE: Reliant Park
LOCATION: Houston, Texas
ROOKIES REPORT: July 30
VETERANS REPORT: July 30

TEAM ATMOSPHERE
There's a strong sense throughout the organization that the Texans are going in the right direction. A young, close-knit core is developing and expectations are on the rise. The Texans expect to make a run for the playoffs this season. While the postseason is likely a year away, the Texans will make a positive push in 2004.

POSITION OF STRENGTH
Believe it not, the offensive line is becoming a source of strength for the Texans. Back in 2002 this unit was a liability, but they have a solid group with depth coming together. Former Dolphin Todd Wade and Zach Wiegert will form a solid veteran tandem on the right side. Expect them to open a lot of holes in the running game. Steve McKinney is a fixture at center. The left side is young with a lot of upside. Chester Pitts made strides last season at left tackle, but is expected to slide inside if Seth Wand can handle the left tackle spot. If Wand proves he's ready to assume the left tackle position, this will be a very solid unit.

POSITION OF WEAKNESS
Vic Fangio has been unable to get enough pass-rush production from his outside linebackers the past two years. Kailee Wong remains a mainstay. He's very smart and reliable in most facets of the game, but hasn't gotten enough pressure on the quarterback. The coaches love the potential of Antwan Peek. Peek has good upfield speed, but needs further development as a pass rusher. The pressure is really on rookie Jason Babin, especially after the Texans made an aggressive move to trade up for him. Babin lacks Joey Porter speed, but has good upfield burst and isn't afraid to take the inside route to the quarterback. But he's making a huge jump from the Mid-American Conference to the NFL and will need to play with better technique at this level.

BIGGEST QUESTION MARK
Is David Carr ready to break out? He's in position to make strides in his third NFL season. Carr is smart, has good tools and takes a professional approach to the game. He needs to make better decisions with the football at times, but that comes with experience. With Carr's maturity, I see no reason why he won't develop. He's also in a good position to succeed as Houston has built a solid core of skill players around him.

KEY POSITION BATTLE(S)
The Texans need more production from their return units. J.J. Moses isn't a liability. He's quick and finds holes well, but he's too small and lacks enough speed to scare opponents. With that in mind, keep an eye on rookie Vontez Duff. Duff had a very good career as a return specialist at Notre Dame. His speed is nothing special, but he has good burst and agility.

IMPACT NEWCOMER
Having Robaire Smith come over from Tennessee was a huge move to set the tone for the off-season. If Gary Walker and Seth Payne are healthy, then Smith should significantly bolster the defensive line for the Texans. Smith is young and in his prime as a run stopper and flashes some pass-rush ability. Smith should also solidify himself as a good leader in the locker room.

CRITICAL LOSS
Houston lost a handful of backups and fringe starters, but nobody that they will miss. The Texans are doing a solid job of keeping a young core of players intact through their long-term building plan.
http://msn.foxsports.com/story/2567762
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Old 07-12-2004   #2
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Interesting thing in a lot of pre-season analysis is the either the excitement of the coaches in Peek's potential, his description as the most athletic LB on the squad and the reports that he has come in much more focused. Don't know how much is repitition between the internet sources, but Peek coming into his own as a starter would be a tremendous boost to the D, allowing much more speed/athleticism at ROLB than Wong will ever have (and I actually like Wong although his price tag is high) and possibly allowing Wong to upgrade Foreman sooner rather than later. Rookies are always interesting to watch and obviously will be watching Babin, but Peek's performance is certainly intriguing as well with tremendous upside.
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Old 07-12-2004   #3
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I like how alot of these reporters try to ride the fence while predicting a playoff spot for us. "While postseason is likely a year away, the Texans will make a positivie push in 2004.
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Old 07-12-2004   #4
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I don't think they are riding the fence. I think they are telling it like it is (positive push in '04 with postseason likely a year away).
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Old 07-12-2004   #5
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How else would you ride it? You are talking about a team that has never ever had a winning streak. A team that hasn't won move than 5 games in one season. It's not like this is Conference USA. It is a tough road. There are 31 other teams with the same level of talent out there.
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Old 07-12-2004   #6
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I just believe they should either say we are going or not like they do with other teams that haven't had good records that made positive additions to their team. But after reading it again I can kinda see that he really isn't riding a fence. His prediction is saying we will make it next year. But there are alot of reporters that do say, Oh they will make the playoffs but could fall off at the end of the season.
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