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Texans Down 'N Dirty: Dre vs. Fitz Edition

Debating who the best receiver in the NFL is comes down to two options: Andre Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald? Pick your poison. Both are dominant receivers that are the focus of the opposing team come gameday. Still, it's hard not to want to support your hometown player in the argument. Most Houston fans will tell you that Johnson is the better overall receiver, while Arizona fans and a majority of the rest of the world will tell you Fitzgerald is more dominant. Of course, there usually is bias involved on both sides. My vote goes to Johnson. Others have started to weigh in on the debate as well, including Pete Prisco in his annual rundown of the top 50 players in the NFL. Prisco has Johnson two spots ahead of Fitzgerald at #4 on the list, referencing better stats as his reason for the selection. Mario Williams (19) and DeMeco Ryans (44) also made their way on Prisco's list. I beg to differ when Prisco states that Warner is a better quarterback than Schaub, but it's hard to argue with his logic. Johnson had more catches (115 to 96), more yards (1,575 to 1,431) and more yards per game (98.2 to 89.4). Fitzgerald bests Johnson in the touchdown department (12 to 8) as Prisco points out, but that comes with him missing out on his starting quarterback for 5 games, not to mention the Texans inability to score in the redzone, which is impossible to attribute to his efforts.

The main reason NFL fans around the globe have Fitzgerald atop their lists is because of his historic post-season performance. In four post-season games, Fitz compiled 30 catches for 546 yards, an astounding 18.2 yards per catch. He hauled in an incredible seven touchdown catches. The question is, who's to say Johnson wouldn't have wowed the world just as much as Fitz had he been in the playoffs? There's no question Johnson had a better regular season, so there isn't any reason to believe he wouldn't have had an incredible post-season as well, or that he won't in the next post-season future. Also, people tend to forget that Johnson had a similar four game stretch in the regular season that was even greater statistically than Fitzgerald's. From weeks 5-8 Johnson reeled in 41 catches for 593 yards. Granted, it was the regular season and the competition was weaker than that of what Fitzgerald faced, however, the feat is still incredible.

Paul Kuharsky (who still runs the best national coverage of the AFC South) at ESPN admits he did Johnson wrong by saying Fitzgerald was faster than the former track star. Kuharsky forwards great analysis on the two players from Scouts Inc. in his blog. In it, Matt Williamson argues that Fitzgerald is the slightly better receiver due to his prowess in the touchdown department and overall dependability, but says Johnson is more explosive overall. It's definitely worth the time to check out the rundown on both players from Williamson.

One fact is undeniable, it's impossible to go wrong with either player. Both are rare, dominant receivers.

Tired of all the continuous Connor Barwin love around here? Well, too bad. Another reason to root for this guy and believe he will do whatever it takes to succeed is the recent news that he overcame deafness as a child. Even now, he still has some minor problems hearing out of his left ear, but for the most part, Barwin has overcome the problem he faced while growing up. Barwin needed multiple surgeries that took place over the course of little past a decade. He's grown accustomed to reading lips when he's in a conversation, since he grew that habit as a child to overcome the issue. It was a problem for him as a TE lining up on the right side, but as a defensive end it no longer poses a threat to his abilities.

First round pick Brian Cushing wants to see himself as the best linebacker to ever come out of USC. Anger still lies in the heart of some Texans fans who were hoping Smithiak would pass on Cushing in the draft, but it's impossible to deny Cushing's attitude and willingness to improve. So far, he's impressed in workouts and mini-camp even though he's been held out of nickel packages to ease in his transition into the NFL. Some concerns about his coverage ability still lie, so he will undoubtedly be working to improve that aspect of his game in training camp.

Lastly, Marc Vandermeer of SportsRadio 610 has high hopes for the upcoming season. It's obvious it's playoffs or bust this time around for the players and Vandermeer believes the Texans are on the way to that goal. In the interview he shows great confidence in the changes being made to the defense. That, of course, is the key to any playoff hopes.