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Pro Football Focus NFL Secondary Rankings: Where Are The Texans Ranked?

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Where does the Houston Texans' defensive secondary rank among the rest of the NFL according to Pro Football Focus?

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"I'm in a glass case of emotion!"
"I'm in a glass case of emotion!"
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Like many of you, I am doing my best to endure the crushing heat of another hot summer along the Gulf Coast.  Every passing day delivers an oppressive burn not unlike the scorching your Houston Texans received in that dreadful game in Miami last season.  You remember...that's the tilt where O'Brien wanted to bench cut Ryan Mallett for missing the charter flight with the team.  It's also the game where Arian Foster suffered a torn Achilles late in a meaningless point of the 4th quarter.  It ended Foster's 2015 season and closed the book on his career with the Texans.  Oddly enough, it was announced just this week that Foster will return to South Florida to play for the Dolphins in 2016.  The NFL's version of irony really sucks.

Both of those incidents brought plenty of suffering for Houston fans, but it was how the Dolphins rolled up a 41-0 score by halftime that REALLY delivered the ultimate conflagration.  Thankfully, someone on Houston's coaching staff made the bold decision to finally bench safety Rahim Moore.  That single move stopped the hemorrhaging, and allowed the secondary to come together into a very strong unit throughout the rest of the season.  Moore was eventually released by Houston.

Here is a bit regarding that:

Actually, saying Moore was "benched" is an understatement. Like Garrett Graham, Moore found himself a healthy scratch, not even suiting up on game day despite being capable of doing so. That's astounding. Here's a guy the team signed to a multi-year, multi-million dollar deal just months earlier, and now the coaching staff doesn't even want him dressing for games, much less playing.

Moore described the feeling of being benched as "mortifying," though he claimed not to know why it happened. I think Brett Kollmann explained the why fairly well:

"Well, it probably had something to do with his poor pursuit angles and tackling being directly responsible for not one, not two, but three gigantic touchdowns for the Dolphins in Week Seven. That's right--21 first half points and a whopping 192 yards were square on the shoulders of Rahim Moore and his absolutely gawdawful tackling on the second level. In a debacle of a game that was chock-full of absurd numbers and stats, those might be the most disturbing of the bunch."

With the "Massacre in Miami" well in the rear-view mirror, you are probably wondering how the defensive secondary now ranks as compared to the rest of the NFL going into 2016, right?  Well, PFF took a crack at evaluating just that, and your Houston Texans are projected as a top-ten unit in the league.

10. Houston Texans

Projected starters: CB Johnathan Joseph, CB Kevin Johnson, SCB Kareem Jackson, S Andre Hal, S Quintin Demps

Other names to know: S Kurtis Drummond, S Eddie Pleasant, S Antonio Allen, CB A.J. Bouye

Key stat: Johnathan Joseph's 16 passes defended were second only to Marcus Peters' 17, and Joseph collected them on 47 fewer targets.

Joseph is arguably coming off his best season as a pro in terms of coverage. In fact, he was the highest-graded cornerback in coverage after Week 2 and on. Johnson had his ups and downs a rookie, but showed that he's a capable cornerback. Jackson graded average last year, and is a season removed from a pretty good 2014 showing, while the pair of Houston safeties both graded above-average in coverage in 2015.

Texans' quarterback Brock Osweiler would very likely be elated to know that his AFC South competition is looking pretty poor, according to PFF:

Indianapolis Colts (20), Jacksonville Jaguars (22), Tennessee Titans (29).

Here is the complete ranking from PFF:

  1. Denver Broncos
  2. Arizona Cardinals
  3. New England Patriots
  4. Seattle Seahawks
  5. Green Bay Packers
  6. Buffalo Bills
  7. Minnesota Vikings
  8. Washington Redskins
  9. Oakland Raiders
  10. Houston Texans
  11. Cincinnati Bengals
  12. Philadelphia Eagles
  13. Kansas City Chiefs
  14. San Diego Chargers
  15. New Orleans Saints
  16. New York Jets
  17. San Francisco 49ers
  18. Miami Dolphins
  19. New York Giants
  20. Indianapolis Colts
  21. Pittsburgh Steelers
  22. Jacksonville Jaguars
  23. Detroit Lions
  24. Baltimore Ravens
  25. Cleveland Browns
  26. Atlanta Falcons
  27. Los Angeles Rams
  28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  29. Tennessee Titans
  30. Dallas Cowboys
  31. Chicago Bears
  32. Carolina Panthers

If the Houston defense can pick up where it left off last year, overall it should rank as one of the best in the league throughout much of the 2016 campaign.  The secondary may rank in the top five if cornerback Kevin Johnson continues his very positive development going into his second year in the NFL.

Let us hear your thoughts in the comments below.