HOUSTON TX - DECEMBER 13: Linebacker Brian Cushing #56 and injured linebacker DeMeco Ryan walk off the field after Houston lost in overtime to Baltimore Ravens at Reliant Stadium on December 13 2010 in Houston Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
As Houston Texans fans, we've heard and used our fair share of excuses. You've had to have heard, "Man, if this team had a defense to go along with the offense." Or, "Injuries really kept this team from reaching its full potential." There were excuses in the beginning for why Matt Schaub could not stay healthy. Even more excuses for the occasional disappearance of star players. My personal favorite is the explanation that we lost so many close games last season that we were just a few plays away from going to the playoffs. Whether you believe in any of that or not, in the NFL teams are measured by results which, as opposed to excuses, is something the Texans haven't produced. Check out the links after the jump to see why 2011 is a make-it-or-not season.
Reggie Herring was hired yesterday to coach the linebackers next season. As Rivers McCown aptly stated, "A foregone conclusion gets concluded." While the Texans apparently can't keep a secret of who they want to hire to save their lives, I'm happy that Wade Phillips got his first choice for the job. As Barrett from the Texans Bull Blog contends, this means Wade has no excuses if the defense does not improve.
To say that Brian Cushing had a disappointing season compared to his award-winning rookie season would be an understatement. One reason the second year player might have not looked right for most of the season might have been an ailing knee, which he had scoped yesterday. He says the surgery was two years overdue, so it will be interesting to see which Cushing we see in 2011. As you may or not remember, those that did not want to draft Cushing were worried about steroid allegations and injury concerns.
According to Patrick from the Texans Tribune, the Texans shouldn't even need excuses for their first overall pick in the draft. As he explains, the 11th overall pick has yielded spectacular results for other NFL teams, and hopefully it will produce similar results for us.
For NFL scouting events, the East-West Shrine game is rated below the Senior Bowl and the Scouting Combine. As Alan Burge writes though, many NFL players come from the game, including several recently drafted Texans. The team has no excuse for not evaluating the personnel either, because Wade Phillips is coaching one of the teams. I'm hoping to get a post up later today on who to watch for in Saturday's game based on who's played well in practice this week and who might fit our team.
One excuse that I have to admit using myself is playing in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL. While this last season may have been an aberration, that certainly wasn't an excuse the Texans could use in 2010, as the division was more winnable than any other season since the team's inception. While the Colts will probably bounce back, the Jaguars insist on riding the David Garrard experiment into the ground, and the Titans seem to be a mess. Yesterday the Titans fired defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil, and as David Climer of the Tennessean explains, it's going to be hard to get a quality coordinator to come coach for Jeff Fisher with his status as a lame duck coach.