Blog Entry

Texans defense will lead them back to postseason

Posted on: January 15, 2012 4:51 pm
Edited on: January 15, 2012 5:34 pm
Houston's defense could be one of the NFL's best in the years to come (AP).

By Josh Katzowitz

No matter what happens with T.J. Yates -- and he most likely will return to backing up Matt Schaub next season -- the Texans have to be pleased (no, they have to be ecstatic) with the way the season ended.

Not with the final result today obviously, falling to Baltimore 20-13 in the AFC divisional playoffs. But with the successful introduction of Yates in the final seven games of the season, with the showing by Arian Foster that proved he wasn’t a one-year wonder, and, perhaps most impressively, with the young defense that dominated the Ravens offense for most of the afternoon.

On a third-and-inches late in the game, with Baltimore trying to seal the outcome, the defense stuffed Baltimore fullback Vonta Leach to give Yates one more chance to tie the game. Earlier in the half, with the Ravens trying to increase their lead on fourth-and-goal from the 1, Brooks Reed and Tim Dobbins met Ray Rice at the goal line for no gain. The Texans sacked Joe Flacco five times. They pressured him numerous other times.

They were nasty, they hit hard (as Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck made sure to point out on his Twitter feed after Houston stopped Rice), and they gave a preview of the future. As in, Houston could be the toughest defense in the league for the next several years.

Already, Houston received great news when defensive coordinator – and, in my mind, the assistant coach of the year -- Wade Phillips withdrew his name from consideration for the Buccaneers head coaching job. “My first priority is to be here,” Phillips said when he was still being considered for the Tampa Bay job. “I like it here. I love it here. You know we’ve had such a magical year and we’re going to keep it going so that’s my first choice.”

But on Saturday, look at who was making an impact. Reed had 2 ½ sacks. As did J.J. Watt. Connor Barwin was a beast, and Brian Cushing was all over the place. That’s a rookie, a rookie, a third-year player and a third-year player, respectively, in the Texans front-seven. Plus, with the vast improvement of the secondary with Johnathan Joseph and Danieal Manning, Houston’s defense will continue to be a special unit.

You know who wasn’t there, wasn’t around the last 13 games, in fact? That’d be former No. 1 pick Mario Williams, who tore his pectoral muscle in October. While Williams has been a standout defensive end during his career, he’s going to be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.

Is it worth it to bring back a 4-3 defensive end into Phillips’ 3-4 scheme? Williams seemed to adjust pretty well in Phillips’ new defense (he had five sacks in five games, after all), but the Texans played damn well after he was lost for the season. The Texans will have to ask themselves if signing Williams to a big-money deal is absolutely necessary to continue their defensive domination.

On Sunday, the real problem was the Texans’ first-quarter jitters, Yates’ interceptions and Jacoby Jones’ disastrous punt-returning. But with Schaub, Foster and that nasty defense returning next season, Houston will be a scary team to face. And a definite Super Bowl contender.

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Since: Dec 30, 2011
Posted on: January 15, 2012 9:00 pm

Texans defense will lead them back to postseason

Texans are only going to get better. Now they have 3 QB's that can play. Also they didn't even have mario williams. They may not even need him next year. If I were them I'd trade him to get another WR or some picks with him.

Since: Feb 2, 2007
Posted on: January 15, 2012 8:20 pm

Texans defense will lead them back to postseason

kubbfan, your an idiot.  Your response makes zero sense.  No one had to lose for them to get into the playoffs.  They earned it with a 10-3 record to clinch the Division early.  Do not get me started with some ridiculous statement about weak competition.  They beat Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Cincinnati along with a pretty good Tennessee team twice to make up five of their wins.

Since: Mar 29, 2008
Posted on: January 15, 2012 7:11 pm

Texans defense will lead them back to postseason

Help me understand how other teams had to lose to get in the playoffs.  They were the first team to clinch their division & the record was 10 - 3 with the best record in the AFC when it happened.  What position coach was lost?  He declined the interview & said he likes it where he is.  Nothing is a guarantee, but not for anything you just listed...

Since: Jan 15, 2012
Posted on: January 15, 2012 5:31 pm

Texans defense will lead them back to postseason

Texas is impressive and almost a mirror image of the Ravens.  Look at the overall stats for both teams this year and you'll see just how similar they are in nearly every category.  I fully expect they'll win their division again next year (I don't think they'll have much competition) and they'll probably be among the favorites to go all the way.

Since: Dec 7, 2011
Posted on: January 15, 2012 5:10 pm

Texans defense will lead them back to postseason

maybe, maybe not. a lot of teams had to lose for them to be in the playoffs this year. if they want to win they have to take the same policies and attitudes and build on them. playoff experience is  mainly knowing what it takes to get there. loosing a position coach can make a big difference. a guy who really made a difference (usually  guy even coaches thought about him making a difference.) so we will see.

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