Going into this season, the Texans had a lot of quesion marks regarding just about every position on the field. Despite their crummy performance without AJ, I think some of those have been answered and the ones that still need to be addressed have been clarified. Offense: Last season, the Texans ranked 28th in points scored (16.7 per game) and yards gained (279.1 per game). So far this season, they rank 11th in points scored (22.6 per game) and 8th for yards gained (350.4 per game). This is a huge improvement. Quarterback: Going into the season Schaub was an unknown and had only started a few games. He ranks 14th in yards per game (216.8) and 12th in QB rating (88.6) In 2006 David Carr ranked 26th in yards per game (172.9) and 15th in QB rating (82.1). For most of the season, Schaub has not had the luxury of his No. 1 receiver. Overall, I think this quesion has been answered and we can expect further improvement from Schaub. I think he will be a top 10 QB in years to come. Wide Receiver: At the start of the season, there was not a legitimate no 2 or no 3 receiver. Kevin Walter and Andre Davis have both proven to be legitimate second target threats. Walters ranks 28th by receptions with 46, and 33rd by yardage with 576. Andre Davis represents a legitimate deep threat with the highest average yards per cath (18.8) for receivers with 25 or more receptions. Jacoby Jones has shown some flashes, but has not yet been able to become consistant. The receiver question has been answered, and without spending a lot of money or high draft choices. It can be argued that wide receiver is our greatest strength. Running Back: We started the season with high hopes for an aging, pro-bowl caliber running back that was our biggest free agent signing of the off season. Unfortunately, Ahman Green has not had enough gas left in the tank to add anything significant to our offense. In 2006, the Texans ended the season ranked 21st in rushing with 105.4 yards per game and a 3.9 yards per carry average. This year, they have stepped back and rank 23rd in rushing with 92.1 yards per game and a 3.5 yards per carry average. For the last two games, however, Ron Dayne has shown some improvement after receiving the majority of the practice time with the first team. Regardless, Kubiak/Smith have not shown the same ability to find no-name guys to run the ball that the Broncos have been able to do in the past. Running back remains the largest area of need for the offense. Tight Ends: Tight end was one of the most solid positions for the Texans going into the season. Owen Daniels has continued to progress, Mark Bruenner remains a reliable blocker, and Joel Dreesen has stepped up as a red zone threat. Unless something falls into their lap, the Texans are set at TE. Offensive Line: The Texans offensive line was one of the most maligned parts of the team heading into the season. There are really no stand out players, yet they have done a decent job, although not outstanding. They have given up only 14 sacks, tied for 5th best in the NFL. This puts them on pace to give up 22 or 23 sacks for the season. This is partially due to improved pass protection, but also partially due to Schaub/Rosenfels ability to avoid pressure compared with Carr. Last year, they gave up 43 sacks, ranking 23rd in the NFL. Run blocking has been a big problem and is reflected in the running statistics above. The OL needs to be addressed further either in the draft or by some of the cap money that will be freed up next year. Defense: So far, the Texans rank 23rd on points per game allowed (23.6) and 18th on yards per game allowed (327.6). Compared with last year, they ranked 28th in points per game (22.9) and 24th in yards per game (337.5). For 2007, pass defense is ranked 15th (211.1 yards per game) and rush defense is ranked 21st (116.5 yards/game). In 2006, pass defense was ranked 22nd (215 yards per game) and rush defense ranked 20th (122.4 yards/game). Defensive Line: Despite 3 first rounders, our defensive line remains mediocre. They still have a hard time getting pressure on the QB and are not consistently shutting down the run. They have shown flashes of excellence, but have not been able to consistantly live up to their purported potential. Okoye is doing great, leading all rookies in sacks (5). Mario Williams also has (5). Travis Johnson, Anthony Weaver, Earl Cochran, and ND Kalu have combined for only 1 sack. In 2006 we ranked 27th in number of sacks (26). This year, we ranks 29th with only 15 sacks, which in on pace for 24 sacks. It may just be a matter of patience allowing the young line to continue to improve, or it may be a matter of finding other players that can put pressure on the QB like Okoye and Williams have. Maybe a coaching change is in order? This is one of the most perplexing areas of what to do to improve. Line Backers: Going into the season, we had a solid middle linebacker and there was stiff competition for the starting OLB spots. Demeco continues to have a pro-bowl caliber season, ranking 9th in tackles, with 6 passes defended, an interception, a forced fumble, a touchdown, and 3 fumble recoveries. Danny Clark and Morlon Greenwood have been solid, but not outstanding. Overall, the Texans are OK at LB unless they have an opportunity to get a star that will complement Ryans. Secondary: Our secondary this year has been decimated by injuries. Dunta was on the way to having a pro bowl year until his injury. Faggins was horrible and I am not sure why they kept playing him. Bennett has been solid and may well become a star. Demps was solid when he started at safety. We still need more talent including legitimate starters at safety and corner. This is one of the direst needs in free agency/draft for next year. Special Teams: Kicking: Kris Brown has been exceptional and is having a pro bowl caliber year. Punting: Turk started off having a pro bowl caliber year and then had a couple of bad games that really hurt the team. Hopefully, he can return to his early season form. Kick Return/Punt Return: We started the season with a lot of promise, Mathis did great for the first couple of games and then went down for the season. Jones likewise did well early but has not been able to really rebound from his shoulder injury. Dexter Wynn has been solid but not exceptional. So, it seems that we have answered the QB and receiver questions very well. The offense is greatly improved and the defense is mildly improved compared with last year. I am not convinced that we do not need a new defensive coordinator. Hopefully, Smithiak will be able to improve the RB/Secondary in the next offseason. The level of competition they had at the WR spot during camp really helped improve the team. We still need some star offensive linemen and some other defensive linemen to complement Okoye/Williams.