The Chief: Texans fans have reason to be excited
Major changes on the offensive side seem to have the Houston Texans headed in the right direction and fans are excited about the upcoming season.
The year is set to begin on Sept. 9 at Reliant Stadium when the Texans take on the Kansas City Chiefs.
Now I know we go through this every year and have never even come close to even sniffing the postseason, but as Texans fans we have to have a special feeling about every season. Under new General Manager Rick Smith the team has undergone a much needed facelift and seems poised to change that all too familiar losing streak.
Saturday night the Texans took on the Dallas Cowboys winning 28-16, and the offense performed efficiently against one of the better defenses in the league.
New quarterback Matt Schaub was acquired from the Atlanta Falcons during this past off season and appears to be the guy that can take this team to the next level.
For those of you that may not be familiar with Schaub, you just need to know one thing: He’s not David Carr. He makes quick decisions in the pocket and distributes the ball around to all of his receivers.
Schaub put in another great night against the Cowboys, completing 12 of 16 passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns, including one on a two-minute drill that was run to perfection. Schaub has completed 73 percent of his passes during the preseason.
The Texans also have something going for them that had, for the most part, been nonexistent for their first few seasons – competition at the wide receiver position.
Their receiving core will once again be led by two-time pro bowler, Andre Johnson. Johnson led the NFL in catches last season with 103. Johnson is a special talent, but has never been fully utilized.
Teams could focus their defensive game plan around Johnson because of no other viable options at the position. Kevin Walter is expected to help alleviate some of that problem.
In his second year with the Texans, Walter is penciled in as the first option after Johnson. His days as a starter may be short-lived, though, seeing as rookie Jacoby Jones is making it hard for the coaching staff to keep him off of the field.
The 6-4, 215-pound Jones attended tiny Lane College in Louisiana where his average game attendance was just under 2,000. After growing five inches and gaining 50 pounds in college, Jones caught the eye of the Texans front office and was selected in the third round of this year’s draft.
Jones has shown that he’s not intimidated by being on the big stage and this was never more apparent than after his first punt return on Saturday versus the Cowboys.
In front of 70,000 screaming fans at Reliant Stadium, Jones returned the kick 91 yards and finished the play off with a somersault into the end zone. It was his second punt return for a touchdown this preseason.
Jones has the coaching staff loving the things he could potentially bring to an offense that was average at best a year ago.
"He’s fearless. He’s a playmaker, and you know, we’ve got something special right there," said Texans head coach Gary Kubiak in an interview with houstontexans.com. "We just need to keep him going. But boy, is he a good football player."
The offense appears to be well on its way to being a force, but there are still some uncertainties on defense.
Against the Cardinals on Aug. 18, Mario Williams was softer than cotton, by failing to record a single tackle. He looked a little bit more aggressive against the Cowboys with four tackles and a sack. I gave him the benefit of the doubt last year with his foot injury, but he’s reportedly healthy this season.
I know he didn’t ask to be the No. 1 overall pick last year, but someone has to figure out a way to bring out that competitiveness we saw from him while playing at North Carolina State University.
He needs to at least double his sack total of 4.5 from a year ago. He needs to remember that it’s all about, "What have you done for me lately?" He’ll continue to get a free pass from me during the preseason, but on Sept. 9 he better be ready to roll.