2009 Houston Texans: Season Preview
By Wilson of Predictem.com
2008 Record: 8-8 (3rd in AFC south) ATS 8-7, O/U 10-5
Stadium: Reliant Stadium
Head Coach: Gary Kubiak
Superbowl Odds: +2600
Training Camp Site: Houston Texans Practice Facility
Training Camp Dates: July 26 August 21
Intro: In the state of Texas football is like religion and the Houston Texans are trying to join the ranks of the previously glorified Texas teams (Cowboys, Longhorns, Red Raiders) as they open the 2009 campaign coming off of their second consecutive .500 season. Houston was not handed a necessary easy division with the likes of powerhouse Indianapolis, and oh yeah, the Titans and Jaguars are usually pretty good too!
Head coach, Gary Kubiak will look to improve the Texans one game at a time but his ultimate goal will be to play in the post season for the first time in franchise history. The task of busting into the playoffs will be extremely difficult as Houston has potential offensively but they really need help on the defensive side of the field.
Whos New? QBs Dan Orlovsky and Rex Grossman, DT Shaun Cody, LB Buster Davis, RB Clifton Dawson, OG Adrian Jones, LB Cato June, DE Antonio Smith, No. 1 draft pick Brian Cushing (USC Trojans)
Whos gone? S C.C. Brown, S Will Demps, CB Demarcus Faggins, RB Ahman Green, LB Morlon Greenwood, QB Sage Rosenfels, OT Ephraim Salaam, DE Anthony Weaver.
Offense: In Houston the offense is a combination of a zone-stretch ground game that the Denver Broncos perfected over the years. The passing game is meant to be consistent with windows of opportunity for game-breaking plays.
Texan QB Matt Schaub will start behind center. Schaub has potential to be one of the best QBs in the league as he is both accurate and has an ability to share the ball with all of his receivers. The Texans cruise down the field when Schaub is in a zone which may be more often than not this season as he should improve every Sunday. The only concern with Schaub is his tendency to suffer injuries. He has missed nine starts in the past two years due to injury. A healthy QB in Houston might equal a post season appearance.
Houstons offensive attack will be led by WR Andre Johnson. Johnson is easily the most cherished weapon for the Texans as he can change a game with his talent and ability to jump above defenders, catch impossible passes, and run after the catch. Yes, he is the real deal.
RB Steve Slaton racked up more than 1600 all-purpose yards last season earning his spot as the No.1 ball carrier for the Texans. He has great speed and explodes through holes.
The offensive line for Houston will need to get a lot better this season. The O-line allowed too many sacks last season mainly because of youth and mental mistakes. If the line can clean up their game and provide protection for Schaub the Texan offense will be very dangerous.
Defense: Defensive Coordinator Richard Smith was fired last season and now Frank Bush takes his place. Bush will continue to run the 4-3 scheme but he also would like to put more pressure on quarterbacks.
DE Mario Williams will lead the push for the Texans but he will need a ton of help along the way. NT Travis Johnson will be under a spotlight by the coaching staff this season. Johnson has not performed as they would like and he needs to prove that he deserves the position. DT Amobi Okoye also needs to improve his game as he was a decent pass rusher his rookie season but dropped off in `08.
Houstons linebacker crew just got stronger with the arrival of rookie Brian Cushing out of USC. Cushing will need to adjust and certainly have OJT (on the job training) but he should be a welcomed force. MLB DeMeco Ryans is one the best in the business and will help mentor Cushing. Look for Cato June to challenge Xavier Adibi for the WLB spot.
The Texans DBs could be in trouble in the secondary if they dont put all together this season. CB Dunta Robinson is probably the most gifted player in the secondary. He is both fast and strong with added radar for the ball. However, the Texans will need more from Jacques Reeves and Antwaun Molden.
Special Teams: The Texans have a decent Special Forces squad that can do some major damage to opponents if not kept in check. PR Jacoby Jones is nearly impossible to catch if he breaks into the open field. KR Andre Davis is just as dangerous but not quite as tricky as Jones.
PK Kris Brown is steady and within the higher ranks of kickers around the league. P Matt Turk is a solid veteran coming into his 15th season! Hes not a strong as in the past but he holds the ball up in the air long enough for the guys to track down field.
2009 Houston Texans Schedule:
September 13 New York Jets
September 20 at Tennessee Titans
September 27 Jacksonville Jaguars
October 4Oakland Raiders
October 11 at Arizona Cardinals
October 18 at Cincinnati Bengals
October 25 San Francisco 49ers
November 1 at Buffalo Bills
November 8 at Indianapolis Colts
November 15 BYE
November 23 Tennessee Titans
November 29 Indianapolis Colts
December 6 at Jacksonville Jaguars
December 13 Seattle Seahawks
December 20 at St. Louis Rams
December 27 at Miami Dolphins
January 3 New England Patriots
Betting Odds and Projections:
Houston is no longer the cellar dweller baby franchise of the NFL. The Texans have fought their way to back-to-back .500 seasons and they may just crack the postseason in `09. They will need their defense to man up and make some game deciding plays or they will stay a .500 team or less. Offensively, the Texans have potential to explode and score a ton of points and win more games.
Las Vegas Sportsbooks and offshore casinos currently have the Texans at +2600 to win the 2010 Superbowl Game. The oddsmakers are well aware of the Texans 10-5 O/U mark a season ago, so it will be interesting to see how they work the totals this season.
Houston is faced with the task of competing with the Colts, Titans and Jaguars in their division. This may the year for them but they will need some teams to falter in order for them to push a head. Luck to ya.