I am doing previews of all the AFC South's teams on our site and I got through three of them so far...............I thought you guys might like to read it and discuss it further......................... Today at 01:58 PM -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Houston Texans Team overview The Texans lifespan in the AFC South is akin to a patient on life support. They have underperformed for yrs and have been badly mismanaged by the GM and coaching staff. Credit goes to Bob McNair in 2006, for getting outside the group think mindset and hiring Dan Reeves to re evaluate the Texans drafts and moves. It became clear to the "Brass" of the Texans that Casserly and Capers were not the dynamic duo they were thought to be once. Their performance in Houston matched that of another Houston icon. Enron. We clearly see how that went. The Texans seem to finally get the message and have now changed their tactics on winning football by choosing a new coach GM and a new way of doing business. Never was this more evident on the eve of the draft when they shocked the football world by telling Reggie Bush he was second best in their estimation. Most have flamed the Texans for this move, but count this author as one who thinks the move was smart long term and fit their needs best. Moreover, their other FA moves this offseason was may have been the first smart moves the Texans have made since 2002. Adding Moulds and Putzier were brilliant. This team is on the upswing. Now will Carr reach his potential or will the great experiment fail. If he flops, passing on VY could set this team back a decade. Coaching staff Reeves was the prime mover bringing a young Kubiak into town. Most folks on the outside assumed that Kubiak would transform the anemic Texan O with Bush and revamp the OL very quickly in his tenure. Kubiak's tact was exactly the opposite. His philosophy was formed not only from his days as a QB but as astute student of the game while a coach in Denver. He played in and coached a dominate O while in Denver but he never forgot the moves that had to be made in 97-98 on D that really made the Broncos a winner. Having TD as a RB certainly did not hurt, but the yr of the first SB win they struggled to just get in to the playoffs as a WC and their D played outstanding the the final 6 weeks of the season and were stoudt in the front 7 in their playoff run to the SB title. Kubiak saw the Broncos get better on the OL and DL in 98 and repeat. Many give the credit to TD and all his yds but the real engine behind Denver's wins was the play of the OL and DL those two yrs. Kubiak's plan was born this offseason when he studied all preseason and regular season tapes from the Texans in 2004 and 2005 and realized that the weakness of the Texan OL was not in talent but in an outdate blocking scheme from the mid 1990's. Very few adjustments were made quarter by quarter and game to game. Moreover, the GM and coaches seem married to their choices in scheme and talent until it became obvious to the owner something was wrong. The Texans made the unpopular choice of passing on bush but in doing so revamped their entire DL by taking a talented DE and switching their DL to a 4-3 which better suits the talent they have currently on the roster. They followed that up by securing solid LB in this yrs draft and giving the OL some depth at OT by taking Winston. Many think they did not go far enough with their OL revamping but most insiders think Reeves and Kubiak know full well that Capers was completely hands off with the OL his entire tenure and turned that over to Chris Palmer and Joe Pendry the last two yrs. Those two coaches used schemes that both had used in prior stints in this league at different times that were just outmoded. Kubiak scheme is fresh and battle tested in the current league and he has tied his reputation to getting this OL back with coaching. He also passed on big FA signings and secured a still good Moulds to play opposite a completely frustated WR in AJ. They already have a pretty solid RB core and they shored up the TE postion with spackle to get them buy until they can use a 2007 draft pick to strengthen this weakness. They have jettisoned some of Casserly's draft mistakes and they will likley salvage some of his picks like Babin and TJohnson. Even PBuch may improve with the upgrades they have made to their front 7. Count me as impressed with what Kubiak has done to date. Losing Casserly Pendry Fangio and Capers give the Texans three extra wins to me alone. The Texan Offense The Offensive Line will determine how good this team will be. They have a very nice complement to skill players already assembled. But few know that Mike Sherman of the GB packers is reclaiming this OL. In 2005 the Texan OL had an astounding 40 blown blocks lead to complete breakdowns before any play could develop. The most astounding fact Reeves and Kubiak uncovered was that close to 10 percent of the Texans pass plays had a blown block within it far exceeding the rate attributable to just poor talent. It was the scheme, and Reeves agreed. Gary Kubiak will bring a zone blocking system to Houston. Likely staters are right tackle Zach Weigert, left tackle Seth Wand, guards Chester Pitts and Steve McKinney, and center Mike Flanagan was asked to lose weight and get quicker for the new schemes that require them to get out of the blocks quickly and get on a linebacker or safety. Eric Winston looks to be a real nice find in the later rounds. I expect this group's perfromance to improve the most of any group in the entire AFC South. Moulds AJ and Mathis Putzier and DD are very solid group. They have solid reserves behind them all. Carr is an enigma because no one can say truly if he is a bust or did the OL in Houston bust him. Kubiak actions have spoken louder than words, and given his reputation, only a foolish fan would not pay attention this nugget. I think the Texan Offense may be second best in the AFC South this yr. Blasphemy? Maybe but they have many pieces in place and appear to finally have competent coaching and stewartship. The Defense Mario Robaire TJohnson and Anthony Weaver.................not too shabby a front four................back it up with Babin Peek and some wide bodies at DT...............then they have Ryans at SOLB Wong at MLB and Greenwood at the WOLB...............moreover, their backups will be Cowart and Rainer, who have starter a long time in this league and Polk who registered 93 tackles last yr................I say their front 7 is loaded. Their DL has the potential to free up every LB to make plays sideline to sideline in the run game...................they maybe a bit suspectible to the TE in the pass game but they will be much better than anyone in Indy Jax or Nashville think. Their secondary will benefit from the scheme change and the improved pass rush that Mario brings. But D-Rob regressed badly last yr...............PBuch made Adam Jone look like a tackling machine, and Faggins was just adequate as the nickle. The SS and FS spot is the soft white underbelly of this D. CC Brown had his moments last yr but he is better suited to SS and not FS.............Earl is an unknown quatity but with their new front seven only a fool would exprect this group to be worse than 05. This is the area I expect the Texans to upgrade in FA and the draft in 07. Special Teams The Texans have a solid K in Brown and P in Stanley. Stanley has lead the league in Punts inside the 20 since 2002 with 120. and Brown was 24 of 26 in FG and had his highest scoring output last yr on a bad Texan team. The ST are clearly in a state of flux because their will be a ton of turnover with the losses sustained on the roster and likely demotions to occur after training camp battles. They have enough depth at LB and CB that I think with minor adjustments ST will be adequate. It will take several yrs to get back some depth here. I think Mathis is a star ST performer and a difference maker. He can take any ball to the house fast. I think this part of the Texans overall is avg but has the chance to be special if starters are asked to play teams. The Texan draft likely did little to help ST out much this yr. Final Preview It should be obvious to you that I think the Texans are alot better than most would believe on the surface. I think they were coached and managed like a circus sideshow and that Kubiak is a different animal. He has brought in Sherman who is a very solid OL and OC in his own right. They also have a former Oiler ST and TE coach from the late 80's in Rick Smith as GM. He comes from a successful Denver program and gives the Texan continuity at HC and GM. He too has addressed the teams biggest weakness which was on D and not the OL. Being a contrarian here was smart because the proof was in the coaches tape and not on the ESPN highlights. The front seven of this D will be vastly improved and shock many teams early. I think their opener against Philly is perfect. I expect and upset win by the upstart Texans. They Texans have made bold and wildly unpopular moves. Previously, this team made predictable moves and got pedestrian results....................Count me as one who thinks the Houston Texans will be a far differnt animal this yr in the AFC SOUTH. By season end i think they will be a tough out and I think David Carr will emerge as a very good QB with alot of weapons around him. The new zone blocking scheme made OGary and MAnderson and Clinton Portis household names in the this league and I think the Texans have some real solid player behind DD that will do quite well behind the new OL and its scheme................I see the Texans winning 6 games but with some breaks and elite play from Carr or DD and the OL..........they could win 9. Yes 2006 is a new yr.