In our ongoing effort to analyze each position as we march through the offseason, next up are the wide receivers. Although the passing game became less and less of a factor as the season progressed (presumably coinciding with Kubiak losing confidence in Carr), Andre Johnson still made the Pro Bowl and led the NFL with 103 receptions (at an average of 11.1 YPC with 5 TD) . It goes without saying that Dre is not part of the problem. He's one of the few Texans who could start for any team in the NFL.
But what about the other WRs on the roster? The other starter, Eric Moulds, was acquired last offseason to take some of the pressure off Dre while simultaneously giving David Carr another big-play option at wideout. Although Moulds had some nice games, he finished with only 57 receptions and 1 TD . He's not a home run threat anymore; he's become a possession receiver and a solid (but not great) second option. I'll be the first to admit that his numbers undoubtedly suffered as a result of (a) Carr's steadfast refusal to look downfield at anyone but Andre Johnson and (b) Kubiak's deteriorating trust in Carr as the season wore on, thus limiting the number of passing plays that were called. Nevertheless, he's got a hefty cap charge next season and could be a cap casualty if he doesn't restructure his contract.
The Texans' third WR was Kevin Walter, also brought in last offseason via free agency. He posted a less-than-inspiring 17 catches for 160 yards in his first season in Houston. I remember being disturbed at how little he saw the field in passing situations and wondering why he wasn't utilized more. As he begins his second season under Gary Kubiak, he'll be a guy to keep an eye on to see if last season's relative inactivity was merely an anomaly.
Needless to say, WR is definitely an area begging for improvement this offseason. You have to figure that Smith plans to address it in the draft, but the fact that a Pro Bowler occupies one spot probably makes it less of a priority than several other areas. We'll take a look at possible candidates for next season's WR corps in our next post.