If division titles were given out in the offseason, the Houston Texans would emerge as the winners of the AFC South. However, if that’s how divisions were decided, the Texans would have already won a title or two. Since the franchise began play in 2006, they have yet to make the NFL Playoffs, making them the only such team in the league.
When a team plays horribly, blame eventually defects back to the coach. But, if a team begins to win games and make waves in the NFL, the head coach takes credit. So it’s a fair situation. Unfortunately for Houston Texans’ Head Coach Gary Kubiak, his team has underperformed year in and year out. Every year seems to be “that year” for the Texans. The team enters the season with high hopes but eventually finds themselves on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs.
After the Texans’ disappointing 6-10 season last year, it seemed as if it would take divine intervention for Kubiak to keep his job. Apparently, Kubiak’s prayers were answered as he was brought back for another year.
The problem with the Texans is that they give up more than they score, which is how you lose games in professional sports. Their offense is one of the best in the league led by QB Matt Schaub, RB Arian Foster, TE Owen Daniels, and arguably the best WR in the game in Andre Johnson — all of which are Pro Bowlers. But if you look at their defense, you’ll see a unit that was at one point last year, ranked as the worst defense in NFL history. The embarrasing defensive performances put together by the Texans in 2010 led to the firing of defensive coordinator Frank Bush and three other defensive assistants.
Luckily for Houston, it’s a new year, fresh start, and their path to the pinnacle of the AFC South has never been more clear.
— Out with the previous defensive regime and in with defensive mastermind Wade Phillips as the new defensive coordinator.
— along with Phillips, the Texans bring in a shutdown cornerback in Johnathan Joseph and draft defensive end/freak J.J. Watt from Wisconsin. Mario Williams, the Texans’ defensive standout, will also move to linebacker in Phillips’ new 3-4 scheme. Needless to say, the Texans are making big changes on defense.
— As the Texans are making positive strides internally, it seems as if they are also getting external help. Ostensibly, it looks like we are seeing the beginning of the end of the Peyton Manning era in Indy as the Colts might start the season without their superstar QB. In Nashville, the Titans have ushered in a new era with a rookie QB and Head Coach. Meanwhile in Jacksonville, the Jags still look like a middle of the road team trying to find their feet.
The stars seem to be aligned for the Texans as they prepare for the upcoming 2011 season. A playoff berth would be huge for the Texans and the city of Houston which hasn’t experienced postseason NFL action since the early 1990s.
However, another disappointing campaign leaving the Texans wondering “what could have been” would most assuredly spell the end for Kubiak in Houston.