The simple answer is we don’t know yet. The draft has yet to occur and there are still a lof of questions that need to be answered. But things are rounding into shape and there is reason to believe that the team would fare better in some of the tough situations they were in late last season.
After giving up over 40 points twice to the Patriots, not to mention 28 in the must-win-for-home-field-adavantage game at Indy, Houston needed a B-12 shot on defense. Well, one figures a healthy Brian Cushing, Brice McCain and Ed Reed subbing for Glover Quin might make a difference.
Sure Conner Barwin is gone, but Whitney Mercilus should (better) be fine. The Texans drafted Mercilus hoping Barwin would stay but knowing they needed a Lloyds of London policy in case he departed. The 2012 first round pick looked good in limited action last season.
And seeing James Casey go to Philly with Barwin was no fun for Texans fans who loved seeing a state native and Rice alum do good things for their team. However, Greg Jones was a big pick up. Jones can lay people out as a blocker. And, while he’s not the receiver Casey is, he can still provide some occasional statistical production.
The big question is still at wide receiver. Losing Devier Posey for extended time late in the playoff loss to New England was a kick in the teeth. Kevin Walter is gone and Keyshawn Martin and Lestar Jean are not locks to be big time producers. The draft has a lot of enticing options but can they thrive in their first year? This should be interesting.
There are other areas that need attention as well. Right Tackle Derek Newton is coming off knee surgery. He should be OK but there’s no one behind him that’s ready for prime time as a swing tackle or possible starter. Daryl Sharpton would start at ILB next to Brian Cushing but he had an already abbreviated season cut short for the second straight year. Help must arrive through the draft and maybe free agency at that position
Donnie Jones had a nice season punting the football. However, getting Shane Lechler is huge. He’s one of the best ever at his position and, to make things more fun, he’s an Aggie and his wife is from Katy.
Rosters are always under construction. And this project is far from finished. But, so far, the upgrade is headed in the right direction.
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