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Houston Texans 2006 Preview

I have been doing previews on my original Blog, and figured I would bring a couple across when the Broncos are facing them.  We'll get it started with tomorrow's game against the Houston Texans.  The game should have a "family feel" when Head Coach Gary Kubiak brings the Texans to Invesco.  I'll go deeper into the game later, but here is my Texan 2006 Preview:

Projected Record

5-11, 3rd Place AFC South

Projected Schedule W/L

Philadelphia (L)
Washington (L)
Miami (L)
@Dallas (L)
Jacksonville (W)
@Tennessee (W)
@NY Giants (L)
@Jacksonville (L)
Buffalo (W)
@NY Jets (W)
@Oakland (L)
Tennessee (W)
@New England(L)
Indianapolis (L)
Cleveland (L)

Nobody has been sacked in a 4-year period more than Houston Texan David Carr. The former #1 overall selection has been battered and bruised in his time in the NFL but after 4 miserable seasons with Dom Capors the future may be looking up for Carr and Co. Longtime Bronco Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak was hired during the offseason to take over his hometown team. A former QB himself, Kubiak will bring with him Denver's potent West Coast attack and will try to start a legacy of runners in Houston similar to that in Denver. His success, however, will be dependant on keeping Carr upright.

Team Strengths - I guess I have to say the running game, though I don't really believe it. I am going to trust the Texan braintrust who thought enough of Domenick Davis to pass over Reggie Bush with the #1 pick in the draft. Even without Bush the Texans do have a decent running game with Davis and backup Jonathon Wells. Former Bronco Jeb Putzier also brings some athleticism to the TE position, though he lacks toughness and is not a great blocker. Though he made my list as one of the Bottom 5 Receivers, Andre Johnson has the size and skills to be a top notch wide-out in the League. Even Carr has put up decent numbers despite getting thrown around by opposing defenses.

Team Weaknesses - 2005 was the year the Texans were supposed to take steps to contend. Instead, the only steps they took were backwards, especially defensively. Dom Capors had success in Carolina as an expansion team by bringing in veterans on defense. This is a huge risk/reward propisition and is not a successful blue-print for longterm success. Capors was never able to equal the promising start he had in Carolina, and the Texans are thin on defense because of it. Maybe that is the reason the Texans passed on Bush and drafted DE Mario Williams out of N.C. State. A freak athletically, Willaims is still very raw and has along way to go to be a consistent contributer. Kubiak's expertise is offense, but the achilles heel of the Texans may be the defense.

Best Case Scenario - Mario Willams comes in and surprises everyone, showing he was deserving of the #1 Pick. The Texans finally give Carr some time to make plays down the field to a rejuvenated Andre Johnson, who has a career year. Gary Kubiak is a fast learner in his first year as the head man and the Texans respond by playing inspired Football. Getting out of the AFC South, where they have to play the Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars twice a year each wouldn't be a bad idea either.

Worst Case Scenario - New Coach, smae results. Carr can't stay upright, Johnson continues to be a letdown and Willimas' play has everyone in Houston chanting "Reg-gie, Reg-gie" at every home game.

My Opinion - I can't put my finger on it, but I like David Carr. I thought the Texans did the right thing by picking up his option, then bringing in an offensive Head Coach to mentor him. He a perfect fit in the West Coast offense, and quick 3-step drops and crossing patterns should lower the sack totals and get Johnson involved in games early. There is no doubt in my mind that they should have drafted Reggie Bush, but the defense is too young and void of any playmakers that they need to address that side of the ball. A trade for more picks would have been a better play, but the Texans made their bed. Looking at the schedule, they are always a lock to beat the Jag's at least once and I think there are teams they'll sneak up on. By the end of the season Kubiak will have the team headed in the right direction in what will a pleasant surprise in 2006.