- Created on Sunday, 29 July 2012 00:06
- Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 07:51
- Written by Travis Pulver
Last season was a roller coaster of emotions for the Houston Texans and their fans. Their coach’s job was on the line. The team was hit hard with injuries losing Mario Williams early in the season, Andre Johnson for much of it, and then late in the season both Matt Schaub and his back-up Matt Leinart.
All should have been lost (look what happened to the Bears after Jay Cutler went down). Instead the team rallied, players stepped up, and the Texans won their first division title, first playoff game, and nearly made it to the AFC Championship.
Are they happy? Yes. Satisfied? Not by a long shot. Injuries played a factor in how the season ended last year. The players know that should they stay healthy this season the sky is the limit.
“If we stay healthy, man, the Super Bowl is definitely in sight,” defensive end Antonio Smith said.
After the beating the team took in free agency this off-season an argument could be made that the Texans are not as strong as they were last season. Losing Mario Williams was a definite blow to the defense as was the loss of offensive lineman Eric Winston and MIke Bisiel. However, head coach Gary Kubiak is confident that the team will be just fine with the personnel that they have.
"It was the best I've seen [competition at the team’s OTAs and minicamp]. We had a lot of new faces, but (now) they got familiar with each other. They got on each other pretty good, and they competed hard. That's a sign of a good team."
The defense was without Williams for most of last season, and still finished as the No 2 defense in the league; a far cry from the bottom of the barrel unit the team had the year before (30th overall). Linebacker DeMeco Ryans is now in Philadelphia and cornerback Jason Allen has moved on as well. No one is worried though.
"I think (defensive coordinator) Wade Phillips hit it on the head. He said we've got some more players that are similar to the players that we got last year. They're really hard-working, never take off on a play, and that's the attitude that we want on this club," said owner Bob McNair.
While the offensive line is a question mark, the mood in Houston and around the NFL is that the Texans will be in the hunt come January for a trip to the Super Bowl. The team may not be taking out ads in the newspaper proclaiming it, but the general mood is that they deserve nothing else.
"Absolutely—that's the next step," Schaub said. "We've been to the playoffs. We won in the playoffs, so now it's about getting to that next game and then winning a championship."