Today's preview swirls about the Houston Texans and once again, the only thing to ponder is if this is finally the year an immensely talented team makes the playoffs.
One cannot make any significant assertions after one preseason game but the Texans' aggression and excellence on defense in last Monday's preseason opener against the New York Jets has to be the springboard for some semblance of optimism in H-Town.
As a Broncos fan, I know new Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is a savant who can do nothing except coach defense but his reputation for putting solid defensive units together is well deserved.
With perpetual AFC South power Indianapolis sporting possible potential G.O.A.T. signal-caller Peyton Manning, it is obvious Houston goes nowhere unless the defense is vastly improved as last season the Texans were 29th of 32 NFL teams in points allowed, giving up 26.7 per contest.
Offense, however, is an asset for the Texans and should continue to be so in 2011 as stellar signal-caller Matt Schaub tossed for 4,370 yards, 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 2010 while completing nearly 64 percent of his passes.
Next to him in the backfield is Arian Foster, who despite never being drafted is the defending leading rusher in the league as last season he ran for 1,616 yards and 16 scores while amassing 604 more receiving yards and two touchdowns.
The leading receiver in franchise history, Andre Johnson, returns to bolster a strong receiving corps which also features the likes of Jacoby Jones, Kevin Walter and Joel Dreessen. Kicker Neil Rackers, who celebrated a birthday Thursday, is coming off a campaign where he made 90 percent of his field goal attempts, so the special teams is also working in order and should continue to do so.
Thus, once again, if the defense is able to make sufficient improvement, the Texans are in position to go places and instantaneously become a darkhorse for a Super Bowl run. Again, citing my Broncos affection, I have long been a supporter of Texans head coach Gary Kubiak and I would hate to see him axed if the team fails to make the postseason so I will express some support for Houston.
Whatever happens in the NFL from one season to the next is anyone's guess but I can say I look forward to seeing the Texans perform for better or worse.
In closing, I inform Texans fans my sister is serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in your fair city so if you ever meet an "Hermana Barton," please be nice and invite her in for some ginger ale and pretzels as you watch Texans games this season!