There has been a lot of talk this off-season about free agents, draft picks, and current players. There has been discussion about schemes, coaching and various other things. With the new beginning the Texans are making, Im going to try to address intangibles. This topic has little solid fact to use as groundwork, but there are many things to look at that can lead individuals to different conclusions. It might be fun to discuss given the optimistic feeling on the board. Lets start with an easy one - coaching influence. I think it is fair to say that by 2005 the players did not believe in the Capers staff any longer. The militaristic structure did not mix well with the inflexibility shown when faced with constant losing. The players seemed to decide the coaches plan, if it existed, would never work. This manifested itself in poor play, the appearance the players were just marking time, and the teams crumpling in the face of adversity game after game. When Kubiak got here, his aura of success, his demeanor, and his stated plans got the attention of the players and I think they believed Kubiak would turn the team into winners. When the season started slowly some of the players may have easily slipped back into the previous year's attitude. The losses and some questionable moves by the coaching staff combined to allow the "loser" mentality to surface. The team again started to crumple in face of challenges. However, toward the end of the year the team seemed to have an attitude shift, and that shift was strengthened by the feedback loop created when they won a few games. The players are probably still believers that Kubiak can spark a winning tradition, but he has to continue to show improving results. The coaching discussion above touched on some other intangibles. For instance, the loser versus winner mentality. As stated, the late season wins seemed to have a positive effect on the players. However the losing mentality is very tough to shake and for the next couple of years the Texans must guard against it. Simply put, continued winning is the only thing that will create the atmosphere of winning within this team. All the rah rah speeches and great player acquisitions do little to instill real confidence. Player acquisition is another matter. I dont think it does much for team chemistry when the Texans replace existing players with "new" ones that arent better, or maybe even as good, as those that are replaced. This is doubled on this team when the appearance of Denver or Green Bay "family tree" nepotism is already discussed. The players arent unlike other people. Many of them make bonds with their "co-workers" and see it as an injustice if they are benched or cut for reasons other than being replaced by better a player on the field. A current example of this is Vonta Leach. He was a bright spot last year; do the Texans keep him, or dump him for a similar player from some other team? Maybe the guaranteed money theyd have to shell out for him would have other benefits than just having him on the field. It would also help build the intangible team spirit that successful teams must have. Its nice to see success and contribution rewarded. Make no mistake the players have differing opinions on many matters. As members of this board we seem to search for the "truth" of what is really going on within the team. We all argue our opinions and wonder what the players think. Well, the players have as many opinions as we do and discuss the various views just as we do. They dont have one group think grasp on facts that we on the board just wish we knew. Personnel decisions get a lot of discussion by the players themselves. Facing adversity is another area in which the Texans need to improve, and again they did that a little better at the end of last year. In 2004 the Texans could rise to some challenges, such as in the Vikings game. By 2005 they seemed more like quitters than competitors if that is not too harsh a description. Last year they seemed to combine the two. There were some games where a fumble, missed first down, or other squandered opportunity seemed to suck all the wind out of their sails. In other instances they stepped up to challenges and played well. There were a couple of games such as the second Indy game where they couldnt pass but they ran the ball down Indys throat. They stepped up and took control of the situation. I think the Texans will have ample opportunity to face specific challenges next season. We picked up a good running back in Green, but he has a tendency to fumble. How will the team handle that the first time it happens to kill a drive? The second? The third? The new and young players will all make their share of mistakes; they need to make up for them afterward and not enter a funk. Any thoughts?