Im at school.. i have an hour to blow.. so im gonna write a long drawn out opinion on how our offseason went and where we are headed So, its been a hectic offseason, and alot of "fans" are confused, heartbroken, or just plain angry that things didnt go how they wanted them too. But lets try and rise above what we think is best for the team, and try to invision just where we are going, and what we have done. The majority of our changes happened on our defense, so lets look at that first. Our defense ranked 23rd out of 32 last season. In 3rd down completions by the opposing team, we were ranked 29th (we didnt stop em on 3rd down). In defensive penalties, we ranked 30th. In penalty yards, we ranked 26th. We allowed an average of 4.4 rushing yards per attempt, but we led the league allowing only 4 rushing TDs! Unfortunatly, that is because we also allowed 32 passing TDs (only GB allowed more with 33). Teams didnt need to rush on us because they could easily pass on us. We DID come into our own a bit at the end of the season against the Jags and Bears.. but neither one of them have offenses worth bragging about, so honestly that is not a good indicator of our skill level. The simple fact of the matter is that our Defense sucked. I see people complaining about our release of Glenn, Sharper, and Foreman, but you have to look at WHY they were released. Look at our Defense last season.. in 2002 our defense rocked, and in 2003 our defense spent most of the season injured so it wasnt possible to tell if they were good or not.. in 2004 though.. last season.. we had MANY of the returning players from 2002, uninjured and ready to play. We even had Babin and Robinson, two awesome rookies, to help us out. Matt Stevens had been replaced by Marcus Coleman.. a huge upgrade. But what happened? Our defense stunk it up. Here we are paying loads of cash for this defense that was one of the better ones in the league in 2002, and now in 2004 they were old.. slow.. anemic.. incapable of doing their job. Is it any big surprise that we decided we needed to make IMMEDIATE changes? There was really NO excuse for our defensive performance last year. Even with Babin and Robinson learning their positions, we SHOULD have been as good or better than we were in 2002, and if we HAD been.. with our offense we would have done alot better than 7-9. But now, our pass rush still sucked, our secondary was sucking.. we had too many penalties, gave up too many first downs, and just did NOT threaten the opposing teams. I have no doubt in my mind that Walker, Payne, Wong, and Coleman will all be replaced within the next couple of seasons. It is necessary. They are getting old.. they are not playing with heart.. they are not doing their jobs. Now, I hope that this next season.. with the cuts we made.. they will come back and be ready to play their heart out.. but if they dont, they will be gone just like Glenn, Sharper, and Foreman. We, as fans, have to remember that these old vets that we started with, they are not TEXANS. They were drafted and played the bulk of their careers with other teams. They do not feel great loyalty towards our franchise because, well, they have not had time to become loyal to us. Our rookies.. Carr, Johnson, Davis, Robinson, Babin, Earl, etc..etc.. these are the players who are going to be loyal to us and bust their butts for us. The Texans are their home, we brought them into the league and we gave them their first big paycheck.. we are what they know and they want to bring this team to the superbowl. Im not saying that our vets have no feelings towards the Texans, just that they were taken in the expansion draft, not really having any choice in the matter. They do not dislike the Texans or our fans.. but if you asked Aaron Glenn in 20 years who he played for in the NFL.. who is going to come to mind? The Texans? or the Jets? Anyway, getting back to the point, our defense struggled in 2004, badly, and we needed upgrades. Sharper and Foreman did not play as well as they were getting paid. They are good players, but they are not playmakers and that makes them expendable. There are plenty of good players in this league.. we do not need to be paying 6 million a season for them. On top of that.. we lacked speed at LB, and considering the way that TEs and slot receivers ate us up and made 1st downs on us, that is something we HAD to fix. Wong and Greenwood at ILB are JUST AS GOOD as Foreman and Sharper. All Sharper has really done for us every year is make a lot of tackles (the only exception I can think of last year was his sack, forced fumble and Touchdown against the raiders).. and Greenwood did the same thing in Miami, he had lots of tackles there. He (greenwood) is being brought into a system that is specifically catered to the type of player he is.. and if anything that is going to make him a BETTER player than Sharper for us. Wong is, obviously, an upgrade over Foreman.. i dont need to get into that. The icing on the cake is that Babin is coming into his second season, and Peek will be starting. He (babin) had a very solid rookie season, and with an offseason to look at gametape and work on the fundamentals will turn some of the QB rushes last year into QB sacks this year. And Peek.. he is an immediate upgrade to our pass rush and our speed, the only question is his ability to be a total package.. will his weaknesses hurt us? All I have to say to that is, are his weaknesses worse than the weaknesses we had last year? The answer is no.. his ability to pressure the QB and produce sacks will not only help to vastly improve our secondary, it will also make up for many of his shortcomings.. whatever they may be. I cannot imagine that having him at OLB could lead to worse results than last year. The ability of teams to get a first down on us from seemingly any distance was sickening. Moving into the secondary, The loss of Glenn WILL hurt some. I am basing that on the understanding that Buchanan, while athletic and a playmaker, is also very raw and weak in man coverage. Buchanan will produce more turnovers than Glenn IMO.. but will also allow more big plays. Here is the thing though.. Glenn allowed quite a few big plays last year himself.. at least one a game it seemed at times.. on top of that, he didnt make alot of interceptions, and our Defense seemed to be focused on making turnovers. If anything, Buchanan is gonna play to the strengths of our defense with his ability to create interceptions and run them to the house as well. I think he will give up some plays, but with Coleman watching his back, and Robinson putting up another great season (*fingers crossed*) Buchanans impact will be a bigger boon than bust. That is what the Glenn/Buchanan tradeoff basicly boils down to. We lose the veteran abilities of Glenn, and exchanged them for a more raw, but more exciting/playmaking Buchanan. Is it an even tradeoff? we will see.. but with our improved pass rush and Coleman back at FS.. I think we will be better than last season, even without Glenn. THis is getting very long so let me talk offense real quick. The biggest complaint on Offense is our Oline. But lets just take a minute to look at this logically. YOU DONT THROW TOGETHER EFFECTIVE OLINES IN THE NFL!11!!one!1!!eleven!1!1!! Olines arent like WRs or LBs, you cant just go grab a good Olineman, throw him in as a starter and expect a big improvement. Olines need time to mesh, and that is what we are giving them. We HAVE talent on the Oline. Wade and Wiegert are both very talented veterans who will be coming into their second year of zone blocking, they will be more comfortable not only with the scheme, but with the other guys on the line. Pitts and Wand are both VERY TALENTED PROSPECTS.. people are ready to burn Wand in effigy after last season, why? Why in the world would you want to bench a young, talented player because he struggled his first season? He did not show any crippling weaknesses.. he just showed that he was still raw and needed time to develop. DId we start him too early? yes.. even the coaches admitted that.. but in doing so we also jumpstarted his development and we can expect MORE out of him next season. Pitts.. im not even gonna go there.. Pitts is very solid and very talented, and if you question his skills to start, you just dont know what you are talking about. Our Oline last year was not only thrown together, it was also learning a completely new system.. they will be more experienced and therefore more effective this season. On top of that, we are finding other ways to make sure Carr is protected. The most prevalent is that we will be instituting more timing routes into our offense.. getting the ball out of Carrs hands quicker, and lessening the pressure on our oline to provide pass protection for 7-8 seconds. I can pretty much garuantee you that the coaches are not going to let Carr get manhandled again. They see the same things you do.. the happy feet.. the distrust of the pocket.. they know as well as you do that they cant let Carr lead the league in sacks again.. and they arent going to let it happen. This is one of those things were you have to trust the coaches, cause we ARE doing the right thing in letting our Oline develop.. there is just no faster way to get Carr the protection he needs. And quickly... the rest of the offense. Our WRs are great.. we have the same guys as last year, plus the inclusion of Jerome Mathis. Mathis sounds like he could definatly be our #2 and a huge deep threat, I look forward to seeing him play. We got an RB that could possibly be as talented as DD.. and if the zone blocking works as well as it was at the end of last season, I imagine he will be. Just like Denver, we will be able to make a 1000 yard rusher out of anyone. This does not provide us the ability to pound the ball.. but it does address the most important issue.. the durability of DD. Now we have someone else behind him who may be an impact RB as well. TE Joppru may finally be getting to start.. everyone cross your fingers and hope he was worth the wait. OK IM DONE! thanks for reading lol.