Im extremely excited about this year. More excited than I've ever been about a Texans team. For once, our defense feels young and consistent. But, like I said in the title, I don't think its time to get excited---yet. Why, you may ask? We are still building. We aren't rebuilding, as we haven't ever really had a foundation to start from, but right now we are building--and we're still missing two key pieces: An effective offensive line And chemistry I know what you are all thinking: "I can't believe he said an effective offensive line!" But hear me out. Its clear to anyone that watches the Texans, that our offensive line has never really been a "strength." At times, it has been the worst in the league. At other times, its been quite effective, much to the chagrin of the OL harpers/national media. One thing its never been is consistent. The other thing we've always been lacking is one or two really dominant players. We still have Ephraim Salaam, a guy most people would rather see in a back up role, as our starting LT. His backup? A guy who has been nicknamed I-65. And thats coming from a team where he was surrounded by talent and one of the most dominant running backs in the NFL. I know what most of you will say: "Our OL looked bad because of David Carr's horrendous pocket presence." And for the most part, I completely agree. I think our OL did look much worse than it actually was because of Carr's poor pocket presence, but thats not to say that I think its going to completely change, either. Even great, Pro Bowl QBs can really suffer when they don't get the protection they need. For example, Matt Hassleback has always been a quick release, wco kind of guy. Last year, he lost a key piece of his OL, Steve Hutchinson. Thats only 1 Guard, right? Well, it was a big deal. Hassleback got beat up last year. And what happeend? He got jittery, he lost concentration, and it cost them a trip to the superbowl. Here is a quote I read from the camp confidential article on ESPN: So while I am convinced our OL will look better without Carr scrambling into opposing DEs, I am not convinced that its going to be good enough to sustain the kind of passing productivity many seem to be expecting already. And now my next point, chemistry. The reason I am so excited about this season is that we have a new quarterback. A leader, a guy the team trusts, and someone who isn't going to fal linto the fetal position at every bit of opposing pressure. But what does this really mean? We are building, and we need to take some time. Schaub has been in the NFL for 3 years, but he has never started regularly. Starting is a whole new ball game, and to make matters worse, he has an entire new team. He has to learn where Ahman likes the ball handed to him. He has to learn the tendencies of guys like AJ, and Walters, and Jones, and Mathis. He has to learn to really, relally trust that AJ is going to be there on a post route if he lays the ball in the perfect spot. And how do you get all of those things? Time. Asking a brand new QB with totally new weapons on offense to step in and win 10 games is crazy. The teams we are playing against have a leg up on us already, and we can't expect to catch up on the first leap. Let me show you another quote from hassleback that really helps this point across: We can't expect Schaub to come in and in a few months develop the chemistry that guys like Peyton and Harrison have going for them. Its just not fair. And while the QB position is in the most limelight, the rest of the team is going to have the same issues. We are still new, we have a lot of young guys out there, and they need to relaly get comfortable with each other and trust each other before we see the real Houston Texans really come out. So, whas the point of this whole thing? What have I said in the above paragraphs if you're too lazy to read everything? Basically, the Texans made some huge changes over the past 2 years. First the entire coaching staff and offensive and defensive schmes were switched. Then we brought in major new players, including the QB. And while we shoudl see improvements in every aspect of our team this year, we can't go out expecting playoffs instantly, because we still don't have the dominance in the trenches or chesmitry between the players. We are building toward being perennial contenders, but don't be disapointed with the bumps along the road. After all, we are Texans fans, and as such, we should be, if anything, patient. There are of course exceptions - look at the Cowboys last year, the Saints last year, etc. But if we aren't one of them, don't get discouraged yet. We will get there eventually, and the reward will that much sweeter for fans that have stuck by them the whole time. Just keep in mind that having realistic expections will leave you a lot less frustrated on Monday morning. We look great on paper, and camp has been going well, but this teams needs to grow, and it may not be pretty while its doing it.