From Fanball: http://www.fanball.com/fb/article.cfm?id=9018
By John Tuvey, Executive Editor
Texans Offseason Needs
We continue our team-by-team look at offseason needs with the Texans, who went 3-3 in the AFC South but just 3-7 against the rest of the league. So, are they finally getting close to shedding the "expansion" tag that's hung around their neck since the team's inception, or are they merely recycling the rebuilding process yet again?
Areas of Need: It's a familiar refrain, but it rings as true today as it did the day pro football returned to Houston: the Texans need offensive line help. Unfortunately, they don't have the first overall pick this season, so in all likelihood they'll be addressing later on the first day of the draft or perhaps via free agency. Last year Houston spent the first two picks of round three on offensive linemen, and Charles Spencer earned the starting left tackle jobâ€¦ before an injury put not just his season but his entire career in doubt. Houston learned the hard way with Domanick Williams â€”presumably part of the reason they passed on Reggie Bushâ€”that you can't expect an injured player to return on schedule, so this need will definitely be addressed in the offseason.
There's also this sniggling question at quarterback. For some reason, Texans fans are convinced David Carr is the problem and not the solution. True, the former first-round pick has struggled, but he's had to make do without any protection whatsoever and limited talent at wide receiver. Still, Gary Kubiak fancies himself an expert on all things quarterbackâ€”after all, he carried John Elway's bag for years in Denverâ€”and he may decide a change is in order. That would send the Texans scurrying, as it's unlikely they view current backup Sage Rosenfels as the answer.
At running back, it's yet another gray area. Houston famously passed on Bush to take Mario Williams, then learned over the course of the summer that Williams (then known as Domanick Davis) wouldn't be available thanks to a lingering knee injury. That opened the door for (we'll try to present them in chronological order) sixth-round pick Wali Lundy, the acquired-in-a-trade-from-the-Packers Samkon Gado, Bronco castoff Ron Dayne, and undrafted rookie Chris Taylor. All had varying degrees of success, but none gave the Texans a running back opponents felt the need to respect. Clearly a disciple of the Mike Shanahan school of throwing backs against the wall to see what sticks, Kubiak will likely stick it to fantasy owners by not giving anyone an inkling of who'll be his starter or how much of the workload said starter will carryâ€”just like his mentor.
The Texans still have needs in the pass-catching department as well, as the move to give Andre Johnson a little help by signing Eric Moulds resulted inâ€¦ well, Johnson being far and away Houston's only downfield option yet again. Tight end Owen Daniels showed flashes, but it's not as if a couple more warm bodies in the pattern would mess things up.
Finally, the Texans have defensive needs as well. Kubiak's switch to the 4-3 left the team wanting at defensive tackle, and the squad's secondary could use an upgrade as well, particularly at the safety position. Despite last year's first-round move, Kubiak is an offensive guy, so you have to believe that he'll focus this offseason's attention on getting the ducks on his side of the ball in a row.
Help is on the Way? A two-game winning streak to close the season took the Texans out of the top five picks, which will likely cost them a shot at Wisconsin offensive tackle Joe Thomas and may also mean they'll miss out on Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson as well. Nonetheless, the Texans have plenty of holes to fill and may end up trading down for additional first-day picks if their primary targets are already off the board.
The Texans will be a little tighter under the salary cap than most teams, so don't expect them to make any big free-agency splashes. The good news is, in order to upgrade their talent Houston doesn't need to sign the top players; merely good players will get the job done. They also have a few players of their own they need to addressâ€”Dayne can become a free agent, as can defensive starters Shantee Orr and Glenn Earlâ€”and it goes without saying that a 6-10 team could use upticks in depth and overall talent.
To this point the Texans have threatened to approach the hump but consistently failed to get over it. Though this marks GM Rick Smith's first draft and Kubiak is only entering year two, their predecessors pretty much burned up their grace period. Houston fans want results, and they'd like them soon.