With the 2011 season in the books, the NFL now switches into one of the most exciting times of the year, the offseason. This is where teams try to find answers and fix issues from the previous year, and find the magical formula for the 2012 season. There is some time until teams report for training camp, something like 7 months, not to mention the free agency period and NFL draft. Focus turns to the Houston Texans, and the question that comes to mind is How Close Are the Texans, to achieving the ultimate goal? The Super Bowl.
I know it is early and we have to crawl before we walk, but think about if the Texans could have stayed healthy, at least at the quarterback position. I know there are a bunch of what ifs, but any real fan realizes the Texans were an injury away from pushing for the AFC crown. With the Texans making an effort to give their defense a face lift for the 2011 season, the Texans created a new mentality for years to come in Houston. Is it logical to say the Texans were the best team in the NFL at one point of the season this year, maybe.
If you look at the Texans, right now, we think they are maybe two pieces away from contending for something special. The Texans showed deficiencies, like any team in the NFL, and these issue should be addressed in 2012. Here is what we are thinking they are:
The Missing Pieces
1. Another top flight corner, not saying Kareem Jackson is the "bust" yet, but he has improved from his rookie season. His 3rd year will be the make or break season for him, but it is apparent if the Texans had any type of playmaker at the other corner, it could prove vital for an already dangerous secondary. Johnathan Joseph turned the Texans secondary into a shade of what they once were, but adding another above average corner could make some NFL offenses lives miserable.
2. More Gamebreakers on Offense, now understand we are talking about players who break a tackle they have the potential to score. Think about the broken tackles on offense that were from anyone in a Texans uniform not named Arian Foster or Ben Tate (Can't think of one can you?). The Texans need to concentrate on players who can make things happen, especially in the wide receiver position. The more we think about it do the Texans need a speed guy opposite of Andre Johnson, not necessarily, they need a player who commands respect when he is on the field. The Texans have a chance to give their wide receiver position an overhaul with Kevin Walter and Johnson the only guys with a spot on the 2012 roster.
There will be calls for a bigger nose tackle, which would be nice, but is not a pressing need. The Texans showed they can compete with Shaun Cody and Earl Mitchell. This is an offseason with calculated moves the Texans can create even more depth in the draft and extend offers to important pieces of the 2011 roster. It will be a busy time for the Texans in the coming months, but it is pretty clear the Texans are closer to competing on a larger scale in the upcoming season. It won't get any easier but it is hard to count a team out especially all they overcame in 2011.
What are your missing pieces you think the Texans need to put them over the top?