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Texans Play Normalcy of Big Tweaks to 30th Ranked Defense

The Houston Texans said two weeks ago not to be surprised if the new defensive regime breaks mold of the 2010 third-worst defense.  Since then, word has come out about (2010 position – name) defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans, outside linebacker Brian Cushing, defensive ends  Connor Barwin and Jesse Nading, cornerback Glover Quin.

The changes that general manager Rick Smith, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and linebackers coach Reggie Herring have announced all have been complemented with the possibility that some other moves are not made and the Texans will have to resort to the players’ 2010 position.  For example, the Texans have interest in moving Glover Quin to free safety in 2011.  That is, if the Texans can add the likes of a Oakland’s Nnamdi Asomugha, Cincinnati’s Jonathan Joseph, Oakland’s Stanford Routt, Washington’s Carlos Rogers, Pittsburgh’s Ike Taylor and Baltimore’s Josh Wilson to their starting cornerback depth.  If the Texans are unable to upgrade at the position, Quin will likely stay at cornerback. However reported that Rick Smith will be active again in the free agency:

“I think we’ll do what we always do. We have an opportunity to improve our football team via free agency and the draft, and we’ll look to every opportunity we have. We’ll look at every avenue to improve.”

Furthermore, Smith said about the 3-4 change for the defensive tackle position:

“I do, I think if you listen to him and what he’s done in the past with his defenses, there isn’t a template of guys with height/size/weight ratio. He’s done it with the big massive guys, and he’s done it with guys who are undersized or smaller. I think Earl Mitchell is a guy who can play the nose for us. I think his development last year was good, pleased with what he did and we’re expecting him to take a jump like you expect of a guy moving from year one to year two. I think we do.”

Last week the Texans announced that Brian Cushing will be moving to the strongside inside (Mike) linebacker position, DeMeco Ryans will be moving to the weak inside (Mo) linebacker position, and Jesse Nading and Connor Barwin to outside linebackers.  Smith said on the outside linebacker position:

“I feel like starting out there with those two guys inside gives us a solid anchor point, and now we’ve got to work to the outside and find some guys that can rush the passer, which is probably the biggest, most important position. They’re all important, but as far as this package goes, the outside ‘backer is the premier position where we’re going to rely on a lot of sacks and a lot of pressure on the quarterback. So, pass rush is a priority. Connor Barwin and Jesse Nading we’ve moved outside. Between the draft and free agency, we hope to fill out some pieces here of the puzzle that are real important to this defense, and that’s the pass rush on the outside.”

Then again, if the Houston Texans will be able to move up to draft Texas A&M outside linebacker Von Miller, then expect either of Barwin and Nading to stay on the defensive line in 2011.  Furthermore, if Mario Williams lacks effectiveness on the defensive line, expect the Texans to bring him up to the outside pass rush linebacker position.

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