Hi all. It’s been a while. You’re going to be seeing a lot more of me now that the lockout appears to be drawing to a close. Real life has really been getting in the way lately, but rather than burn myself out by discussing ridiculous non-issues, I thought I’d take a nice long break and recharge. With that said, I’m ready to give you the coverage, opinions, and analysis you’re used to getting from this website (insert joke).
I’m finally allowing myself to get excited about the season. As I’m typing this, for some strange reason, I’m watching the Ravens at Texans Monday Night Football game, which is still sitting on my DVR like an open sore. Yeah, it’s time for some (new) football. Let’s catch up on some relevant Texans offseason issues. There will be some repetition here, but it’s been so long I feel like I should lay out thoughts one last time before things get underway:
The team’s free agents:
Unless there’s a stunning development, the three Texans free agents of consequence are fullback Vonta Leach, wide receiver Jacoby Jones, and swing tackle Rashad Butler. Butler is gone. He’s made it more than clear via Twitter that he wants out of Houston, and I can’t really blame him. He’ll get a chance to start somewhere, or at least make more money than he can in Houston.
I think Jacoby Jones will be back with the Texans. I really don’t feel strongly one way or the other about him, though. The Texans can get someone as good or better than him without spending much more (if more at all). That said, when Jacoby’s on, he’s a hell of a talent but if he’s not consistent by now, there’s no reason to think he suddenly will be.
Leach I’d obviously like to see return. No reason to mess with what worked so well in 2010, and “the highest paid fullback in the NFL” really isn’t that much, but I wouldn’t overpay. The offense isn’t going to fall apart without Vonta Leach, but I’m not especially confident that Houston will re-sign him. Then again, Rick Smith grossly overpaid for Andre Davis a few years back, but I’m sure he’s learned? a lot? since? then? *shrug*
Free agent cornerback speculation:
-Nnamdi Asomugha, Raiders
Not happening. He’ll get as much or more money AND the chance to contend for a Super Bowl elsewhere.
-Johnathan Joseph, Bengals
You can make a serious case that Joseph should be the Texans’ top priority, even over Asomugha. Considering price and age, I don’t think that’s a ridiculous notion.
-Ike Taylor, Steelers
Not just no, but HELL no. Tremendous big free agent contract bust potential. Not even close to the best player on his own defense. Plays next to Troy Polamalu, and has a great front seven playing ahead of him. Only if the Texans lost out on a LOT of other names would I consider Taylor, and even then I’d probably avoid.
In the end, I feel like the Texans will end up with one of the 3rd tier corners, like Richard Marshall or Carlos Rogers. Obviously either would be an upgrade, but I’m hoping the stars align and they’re able to reel in Joseph.
I hear a lot of people say that just because Wade Phillips has joined the Texans, doesn’t mean the defense is going to be better. Well, if you feel that way – you’re simply insane. That’s not a case of drinking the Wade Kool-Aid, it’s a case of how historically atrocious the Texans’ defense was last season. OF COURSE they will be better because Wade is here. Much better? No, not without some significant personnel additions.
Glover Quin moves to safety
A great idea a couple of years ago. Now? Well, sure – as long as they sign an impact free agent corner. Quin certainly has the pop and mentality to play safety, but I’d sure feel better if he was the “other” safety, and not the one we are apparently going to count on to be the “at least mediocre” one. Troy Nolan or Shiloh Keo as the other safety seems like near certainty, but I’m allowing myself to believe they will look at getting a starting safety in free agency as well as the aforementioned corner.
There’s been a lot of talk about Mario Williams’ position change, and the Texans apparently rolling with some combination of Shaun Cody and Earl Mitchell at nose tackle – but I have an immense amount of worry about DeMeco Ryans. As has been discussed, history says that guys coming off the type of injury Ryans suffered don’t often return to optimum performance, and even less (never?) do they return to form the very next year. It’s not so much that I’m worried about Ryans as I’m already prepared for him to take a step back in production, through no fault of his own. That, of course, means the Texans desperately need Brian Cushing to be 2009 Brian Cushing, and I mean desperately.
So we’re caught up a bit. Let’s see how the lockout plays out this week, because we’re going to go from talking about the same old subjects, to having an overwhelming amount of new topics to kick around.
Glad to be back. For the six of you who are still with me, I appreciate it.