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Ray of Hope

For the past five seasons, the Texans have been defensive cellar dwellars, ranking near last in total yards allowed.  In fact, our inaugural season was the only year we finished with a ranking higher than 23rd, but there is hope.

The Texans have made an off-season acquisition that is sure to make an impact on Sundays, and he won't even need a helmet.  Renowned for being a defensive architect, Ray Rhodes joined the Texans this year as an assistant/advisor to defensive backs coach Jon Hoke.  With that much experience, there's no doubt that he's going to provide this young Texans secondary with lessons that run deeper than Xs and Os.  

A coaching stalwart, Ray Rhodes brings with him 27 years of NFL experience.  In fact, he was coaching defensive backs before Dunta Robinson and Jacques Reeves took their first sip of Similac.  He has helped mold some of the greatest defensive backs the NFL has seen.  During his Hall of Fame enshrinement speech, legendary safety Ronnie Lott had the following words of appreciation:  "To George Seifert and Ray Rhodes, they taught me the art of defense."  That's one hell of a compliment coming from a player who has defined the position for generations to come.

He began his coaching career in 1981 as an assistant secondary coach with the San Francisco 49ers.  That year, he helped the 49ers make one of the biggest single season defensive turnarounds in league history.  Prior to his arrival, the Niners' total defense and pass defense both ranked second to last.  The following season, with Rhodes on the coaching staff, the Niners boasted the second best total team defense with a pass defense that ranked third in the league.  In eleven years as a defensive backs coach (1981-1991) and one as defensive coordinator (1994), San Francisco had ten top-ten defenses and won a dynastic five Super Bowl titles.  

Ray Rhodes had his hand in similar turnarounds serving as the defensive coordinator in Washington and in Denver.  In 1999, the Redskins were ranked second to last in total defense and 26th against the pass.  The very next year he turned Washington into the fourth overall defense and was ranked second against the pass.  He left Washington in 2001 to be the defensive coordinator in Denver.  In two seasons, he took them from being ranked 24th in total defense to eighth in 2001 and sixth in 2002.

Although he wasn't able to have the same kind of success in Seattle, he did help them improve from their ranking of 28th in total defense to 19th in 2003.   He also was apart of the 2006 Seahawks playoff run that culminated in Rhodes' sixth Super Bowl appearance.

Over the course of his 27 year coaching career, Ray Rhodes has been a part of 16 top-ten defenses, with nine of those teams finishing in the top-five.  He has only coached seven teams that failed rank 16th or better. Its safe to say that he leaves defenses better than he found them.

Ray Rhodes brings a wealth of knowledge and a vast amount of experience. He will be a mentor to players and coaches alike. Influential and inspiring, Ray Rhodes will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on this young team. What kind of impact do you think he will have on our up and coming defense?