Part I: Secondary (also includes a brief description of this series).
Part II: Linebackers.
Part III: Defensive Linemen.
Part IV: Special Teams.
Part V: QBs, HBs, and FB.
That Andre Johnson guy? Yeah, he's pretty good. Jump with me, won't you, and we can explore his awesomeness together.
WR: I've been using ProFootballFocus.com to give me an unbiased scorecard, because goodness, I am one opinionated SOB. It's true! PFF, though, ranked Andre second for wide receivers, which is like ranking me second in Overwhelming Manliness, an upcoming Olympic Event. But I digress. When looking purely at the ranking, it's important to note Andre missed the last two games of the season. Sadly, he's also dinged for his, ahem, "fight" against the Evil Leprechaun, Cortland Innigan, who got the "F" beat out of him. Snark aside, Andre Johnson is quite literally the best wide receiver of this generation, truly a man among the boys of the NFL. In addition to being a fantastic receiver, he's also an elite blocking WR. We need to continue enjoying Andre while we can.
In 2010, the drop off after Andre was....well, "steep" really doesn't do the comparison justice. It's like going from Jester King's Black Metal Imperial Stout to Coors Light. No, Kevin Walter didn't drop a single pass all year (Edit: He did drop one.), but he clearly wasn't as effective as in 2009. Walter is what he is: a gritty WR who runs great routes, does the little things, and does his best in the blocking game (a necessity for a WR2 in Kubiak's offense). In 2010, though, he was slightly below average according to PFF, and this makes sense considering his tendency to disappear throughout the season, largely due to injuries.
Then there's Jacoby Jones. This is where the "unbiased" thing comes in handy. I truly believe Jacoby takes a bum rap on this blog, but he also has his issues. The only player who had more drops than Jacoby, I believe, was the Stone Handed Zombie himself, Eugene Wilson. But Jakespeare dropped only two passes over his last nine games, and he pulled in 72.2% of passes to him over that span, which would place him among the league leaders. JJ was absolutely on fire over the final four games.
That makes it so hard to judge Jacoby, especially since we need to re-sign him. Do we have the JJ that teases us with his obvious talent? Or are we re-signing Sir Drops-A-Lot? One thing I will say, and it's one of those warm and fuzzy things, is that Jacoby was almost always the first guy on the field shaking hands. I know, it's stupid, but it did seem like he took a step forward in leadership. To me, this shows maturity and a desire to win. But since I've had a serious man-crush on Jacoby for, ohhhhhh, four years now, I'm a little biased.
Not unlike Kevin Walter, David Anderson both fought injuries and is the stereotype of a "gritty" wide receiver. Worst of all, Anderson had only 11 receptions in 2010. As much as I love DA, he needs to be replaced, and for his own health, retirement might be a good idea.
And that's it. That's all the Texans had to offer at WR in 2010. Sure, Dorin Dickerson saw some snaps (23), but he was targeted just once.
TE: Owen Daniels collects ACL surgeries like others collect baseball cards or, in Jake's case, spoons from around the world. This showed in 2010 as OD was often AWOL. Sure, he played well over the final four games, but his drop rate was early-season Jacoby-esque over that span as well. When you toss in his continued blocking inability - PFF ranks him in the bottom quarter even in his limited play time - Daniels was our least effective TE last season, according to PFF's rankings.
Yes, this even includes our own THOR (The Hero of Rice), James Casey, he of the meanest spin move since Madden '95. PFF ranks Casey out at 22 (out of 107, I should add), though in much more limited action than the rest of our TEs. Shockingly, PFF ranks Casey as a positive in the run blocking game, though I do think Casey would be more exposed with more playing time. Nonetheless, it's clear Casey deserves a shot to be on the field more often.
This leaves us with *gasp* Colorado State University graduate Joel Dreessen. As much as some make fun of that particular pipeline of talent, the results have been pretty damn nice. PFF ranks Dreessen 14th, or slightly above-average. Dreessen stretched the field at 14.4 yards/catch, easily among the league leaders at TE. Heck, Dreessen is even ranked positively in pass blocking, though not so much in run blocking. Personally, I love Dreessen, and he's just the type of player who flies under the radar, but he bombs you with precision.
2011: We need to address WR, period. Walter is a nice accessory, but he isn't a centerpiece. Personally, I would re-sign Jacoby, but I'm biased. He is our most explosive receiver after the catch, and he has most definitely progressed during his stay with the Texans. To be honest, I think he's putting in the work necessary to be a successful NFL-level WR. Once we can allow him to focus on WR instead of splitting his attention with special teams work, I think he can be a fine, true-threat WR3. In this system, it's apparent (to me) he's not a WR2. Dickerson is a special talent as well, and I do think he could be that WR2. To me, Dickerson falls into that Freak category, and I can't wait to see him develop.
How much do we like Garrett Graham? If we aren't high on him, then, believe it or not, TE is a position of need. Maybe not immediate need, as Dreessen is signed and Casey is young, but the position has suddenly become a consideration. There's no way I'd make an offer to Daniels. This is that cold, business part of the game, yes. But it's apparent Daniels is on the wrong side of so many knee surgeries, something I can speak to with much authority.