- Created on Monday, 21 May 2012 23:47
- Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 07:51
- Written by Travis Pulver
After a strong finish to the 2010 season there was finally reason for a little hope in Houston. Thanks to Peyton Manning’s injury the AFC South was considered there’s to lose in 2011. Even with a pair of injuries at quarterback and a key one at wide receiver the team was still able to secure its first 10-win season and playoff berth.
With OTAs underway for the 2012 season talk has begun about who stands to have a chance to be in New Orleans for the Super Bowl at the end of the season. Early talks have focused on a few teams, the Houston Texans chief among them.
"It's great to be in that conversation," quarterback Matt Schaub said. "We've made a lot of strides. It's been a lot of hard work and blood, sweat and tears put into this over the years. To finally be there is great, but they're just words, and we need to go out and prove it year-in and year-out. We need to be right back there at the end of the season."
After the way the team has played over the last couple years it should come as no surprise that the Texans have now become a team favored to make it to the Super Bowl. Arian Foster and Ben Tate have combined to give the team the most dangerous running game in the NFL. Wade Phillips has turned a porous defense into one of the best in the league.
When healthy, Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson have led one of the most dangerous passing games in the NFL. However, the key to that has been one thing—health.
Matt Schaub has not been the picture of health over the last five years missing five games twice (’07 and ’08) and six last season. He is still recovering from major surgery to his foot, but is expected to be ready for training camp.
Andre Johnson’s ’11 season was cut short due to injury as well, a pair of hamstring injuries. Recently he also underwent knee surgery as well, but that is only expected to have him sidelined for 3-4 weeks.
Both players will likely be severely restricted throughout OTAs and the entire preseason just to be on the safe side. Such treatment is not exactly unusual for key veterans, but when it comes to these two it comes as more of a necessity.
Schaub and Johnson are injury prone, nine year veterans. While they could very well both have a number of productive years ahead of them, with all the concern over the long term effects of injuries these days there is no telling when the aches and pains could force one or both to call it a day.
Some would argue that the loss of one or both means little since the team did just fine without them last season. However, even though T.J. Yates looked good he did throw three interceptions against the Ravens in the playoffs.
Andre Johnson gives the Houston a passing attack to be feared. Without him, it becomes pedestrian at best. While a running team can do well—as Houston proved last season—one dimensional teams don’t win Super Bowl titles.
An okay offense and a strong defense will keep the team competitive, but the Baltimore Ravens are proof that it will not bring a championship to town.
Further injuries to either Schaub or Johnson could bring a quick end to their careers. Schaub is already known as an injury-prone player. Injuries to the legs will eventually cause Johnson to lose a step; the death knoll for any wide receiver.
Without these guys the team was pretty tough; with them they could very well be virtually unbeatable. The trick will just be keeping them ‘with’ the team (and uninjured).