2009 Houston Texans Season Preview
2009 Houston Texans preview from MadduxSports.com. The AFC South is once again loaded and week by week anyone can knock off anybody in this division. Having an expert NFL pick handicapper will help you maximize your sports betting profits this season.
2009 Houston Texans Predictions
By Adam Barone
The time for the Texans to be a popular perennial sleeper team is probably over. Houston finished last season third overall in offense, but had just eight wins. They’re in a tough division, but a playoff appearance could be in the cards if their 22nd ranked defense can show some improvement. A number of changes were made to the defensive coaching staff, including new coordinator Frank Bush, while the focus of the offseason was adding talent on that side of the ball.
Quarterback Matt Schaub is one of the more underrated signal callers in the league. He topped 3,000 passing yards in 2008, despite playing just 11 games. His quarterback rating was 92.7, as he threw 15 touchdowns and ten interceptions. Schaub’s backup, Sage Rosenfels, was traded to Minnesota, so the Texans are hoping that Schaub can stay healthy. They do have plenty of weapons for him, including one of the league’s best receivers, Andre Johnson. Johnson led the league with 115 catches and 1,575 yards. He only caught eight touchdowns, something that will likely need to improve if the Texans hope to make a playoff run. Other receivers include Kevin Walter, Andre’ Davis, and tight end Owen Daniels. Walter had 60 catches for 899 yards and eight scores in 2008, while Daniels, one of the up-and-coming tight ends in the league, caught 70 for 862 and two. Daniels would also like to see the end zone more, as his two touchdowns came in the same game.
Former West Virginia Mountaineer Steve Slaton gave the Texans a pleasant surprise, vaulting from being seen as a third-down back to being the featured back. Slaton started 15 games and led all rookies with 1,282 yards, finding the end zone an eye popping 10 times. He was unexpectedly effective at the goal line, especially considering that he weighs just over 200 lbs. Other backs on the roster include Ryan Moats and Chris Brown.
The same five offensive linemen— Mike Brisiel, Chester Pitts, Eric Winston, Duane Brown, and Chris Myers—from the past two seasons return this year. The unit was average in pass protection in 2008, allowing 32 sacks.
Defensive end Mario Williams made his first Pro Bowl last season, proving that the Texans made the right decision choosing him No. 1 overall instead of Reggie Bush of Vince Young. He had 53 tackles and 12 sacks, and will line up with Amobi Okoye, Travis Johnson, and Antonio Smith. Rookie Connor Barwin was added out of Cincinnati as a situational pass rusher. Okoye is still very young, going into his third season after being drafted as a 19-year-old. He’ll need to bounce back from his one-sack season. End Anthony Weaver, who started 16 games last season, is gone.
The linebackers, led by middle-man DeMeco Ryans, will be used in the pass rush more this season. Ryans hasn’t missed a game in his three-season career, but was worn down by injuries in 2008. When healthy he’s one of the best linebackers around. The other linebackers include Zac Diles, Cato June, Xavier Adibi, and rookie Brian Cushing. Cushing, out of USC, will compete with Diles for strong-side duties.
The secondary, full of steady but unexciting names, allowed 24 touchdowns in 2008—seventh most in the NFL. The starters will likely be Dunta Robinson and Jacques Reeves at corner with Fred Bennett competing for time, and Eugene Wilson and Dominique Barber at safety. Bush’s new, more aggressive blitzing may help this unit in coverage in 2009.
Kicker Kris Brown is one of the league’s most consistent. He made 29 of 33 attempts in 2008, including a 53 yarder. Jacoby Jones and Andre’ Davis will handle punt and kickoff returns again, but Jones will need to do a better job of holding onto the ball.
This Texans team will need to take the next step this season. Consistency on offense and an improved defense are the way to do that. Schaub will need to stay healthy, and they’ll probably need some help from the rest of the division, but Houston absolutely has playoff potential.