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“It’s Not How You Start…”

By Trey Lanthier

The Houston Texans began the 2010 NFL season on a rampage. Break-out star running back Arian Foster notched 231 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns in a victory over the Indianapolis Colts – it was a franchise record for rushing yards as well as the first time Houston had ever beaten Peyton Manning and the Colts. After winning 3 of their next 5, the Texans were being regarded as a potential contender in the AFC because of their explosiveness on offense.

The combination of quarterback Matt Schaub, running backn Foster, and wide-out Andre Johnson was quickly labeled the deadliest tandem in the league. Unfortunately, their 4-2 start was a false indicator of things to come. While every analyst focused on Houston’s offense, it seemed that every opposing coach focused on their defensive secondary. After losing four straight games, it was clear that the Texans’ playoff hopes had been dashed, despite a great start.

One statistic alone could provide explanation for the final record, which stood at 6-10: Houston finished dead-last in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game. Despite a dynamic offense, it’s pretty clear that the Texans’ setback in the secondary ruined their chance at success. So it’s only rational that the primary goal heading into this shortened offseason was to secure a strong series of pick-ups to bolster a poor passing defense.

And the Texans did just that at the start of the free agency period, snagging former Bears’ safety Danieal Manning and former Cincinnati cornerback Johnathan Joseph to massive long-term deals. Both players are young, but they’ve put up a display of immense potential at the start of their respective careers. Manning poses as a dual threat: in addition to his lockdown position as a safety, he can return kicks efficiently, both of which were serious needs for Houston heading into the offseason. Joseph is more widely known than Manning, but he’s still severely underrated, always playing in Leon Hall’s (Bengals’ number one cornerback) shadow. Finally, he’ll have a chance to prove himself as the Texans go-to defender.

Although neither player was considered a top-tier free agent at the start of the signing period, the management in Houston is content with these acquisitions. The team managed to hold its dynamic offense together and strengthen its defense, and while the Texans won’t get a nod as the favorite to win the AFC South, they’re definitely considered in contention for their first playoff appearance in franchise history. As the team learned last season: it’s not about how you start, it’s about how you finish. Now, heading into the 2011 season, the Texans should be well-prepared for a strong finish and potentially a playoff berth.

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One Response to ““It’s Not How You Start…””

  1. garrett says:

    *second time Houston have ever beaten Peyton Manning and the Colts. btw this website is a fail in Texans news

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