Join Date: May 2004
Location: Deer Park, TX
The Sporting News' Take On The Texans
I apologize if this has already been posted, but I wasn't able to recall if anyone had or not. It was written July 30th, and it quite possibly was already mentioned. Either way here's The Sporting News' take on the Texans.
by Carlton Thompson
BURNING QUESTION: Can QB David Carr take his game to the next level?
Carr's improvement is the key to the Texans' chances of moving closer to playoff contention. The offense will be as good as he is, with big help from the running of second-year back Domanick Davis.
Carr, entering his third season, has proved he can put the Texans in position to beat good teams. Now it's time for him to start winning those games. Expect Carr to show his immense talent and break out in Year 3.
The Texans have spent two years going through the struggles of an expansion team, making slow, steady progress every step of the way. They flirted with respectability last season, beating eventual NFC champion Carolina and losing in overtime to eventual Super Bowl champion New England. They lost three games by a total of nine points, and in each they had a fourth-quarter lead.
There was no shame in their 4-12 record during their inaugural season, and last year's 5-11 record included several moral victories considering their difficult schedule and numerous injuries. They just couldn't figure out how to win games.
This year, the Texans expect much more of themselves.
"That's not acceptable anymore," strong safety Eric Brown said of the Texans' win totals in 2002 and 2003. "Nothing less than the playoffs this year. It's time. There's a sense of urgency in the locker room and with the coaching staff. It's time. I know we're going to get better. Injuries set us back (in 2003). I know we're ready. Everybody in Houston knows we're ready."
Coach Dom Capers reshuffled his offensive staff to make room for veteran assistant Joe Pendry and to allow coordinator Chris Palmer to spend more time on all areas of the offense and game planning. Pendry will coach the offensive line, replacing Tony Marciano, who moves to tight ends. Greg Roman, who coached tight ends the first two years, is the new quarterbacks coach, a role previously handled by Palmer.
Despite the changes, the Texans' offensive philosophy will remain the same. The emergence of Davis gives Capers the type of ground game he covets. The Texans always will look to establish the run and create opportunities for play-action passes. With two receivers who can stretch the field -- Andre Johnson and Corey Bradford -- the passing game has big-play potential.
The defensive personnel improved significantly in the offseason, which will allow coordinator Vic Fangio far more options. In theory, the Texans wanted to play an attacking style last season, but they were hit hard by injuries and the pass rush was nonexistent. If the offseason moves pay off, expect to see the Texans dictating more to opposing offenses as opposed to the other way around, as was the case a year ago.
When building his staff, Capers sought teachers because he knew an expansion team would be forced to rely on young players who could use all the instruction they could get. Palmer and Fangio set the tone on their respective sides of the ball.
Coaches regularly stay after practice to work one-on-one with a player in need of extra attention. Capers, an extremely organized coach who runs a tight ship, demands that everyone be accountable for their actions. While he's not a taskmaster along the lines of Bill Parcells or Tom Coughlin, the players know Capers is in charge, and no one wants to get on his bad side.
FANTASY SOURCE SPIN
Stud: Johnson. He learned the keys to being an elite receiver during his rookie season; now he will become one. Johnson has the potential to have a Terrell Owens type of season.
Sleeper: Carr. The team's improved offensive line and the talented weapons at his disposal will help Carr break out. Don't take him early, but he's an ideal No. 2 fantasy quarterback.
Stumbler: Bradford. He was miscast as a starter in the first place. As the Texans' No. 3 receiver, he'll have the occasional big game, but don't let that fool you into investing in him.
For the first time in their brief existence, the Texans don't have glaring weaknesses, and they will have a legitimate chance to win every time they take the field. This no longer can be considered an expansion team.
Because the Texans play in the AFC South, which houses two of the NFL's best teams, the Titans and Colts, as well as the up-and-coming Jaguars, it's ambitious to call the Texans a playoff contender. Nevertheless, seven to nine victories are reasonable and will represent another step in the right direction for the organization.
Carlton Thompson covers the Texans for the Houston Chronicle and the Sporting News.
Last edited by texasguy346; 08-23-2004 at 02:01 AM.