In a fast 11 years, the Houston Texans have transformed from the laughingstock of the league to a contender for the Super Bowl. With two post-season appearances, they are quickly polishing their franchise losing record (77-99). And sure, a team with a losing can praise playoff appearances. But how long will it be before a Super Bowl appearance?
It took eight seasons for the Texans to have their first winning season. But since 2009, the Texans began to bleep on the radar for contending teams. And how did a team with such a short, dreary history change? One word: defense. Of their 13 draft picks, 10 of them have been defensive players. This includes the one-man wrecking crew – J.J. Watt.
Two seasons in the NFL, and Watt is one of the most well-know, feared D-linemen in the league. With 20.5 sacks last season, he led the NFL. He was also rewarded his first Pro Bowl.
The 6’5”, 295 lb Watt is a QB’s worst nightmare. Just one look at this monster, you know he means all business. And he ain’t in the patty-cake business, he’s in the QB sacking business. And cousin, business is a boomin’.
His 20.5 sacks is impressive enough. But the fact he was able to accomplish that in only his second season says more about his potential and ability within this league.
There is now another reason to fear the Texans defense, recently acquired, free agent Ed Reed. Old, yes. But his ability to still play at a high level is a no question. At age 34, he still puts up numbers better than players 10 years his junior. This past season, he was a pro bowler and a Super Bowl champion.
Not only does adding Reed help with defensive leadership and add experience, but he is the perfect complement to Watts skills. Hunting down a QB the way Watt does, the QB is forced to rush his pass and throw a bad ball. That’s all Reed needs. A bad pass always finds its way into Reeds hands, and the unfortunate QB finds Reed in the end zone.
Now, the offense. Schaub may not be one of the best QB’s in the league, but with the help of Andre Johnson, who was second in the league in receiving yards this past season, he gets all the help he needs. Johnson is one of the best receivers in the league. So long as he stays healthy, he will continue to produce big numbers. And if Arian Foster can keep improving each year like he has, the offense will be just as feared as their defense.
However, I believe Gary Kubiak is the most important piece to the puzzle. Since he has taken over as head coach, the Texans have had more winning seasons than losing seasons. Kubiak reminds me of Bill Belichick in a way. An old school coach who knows how to construct a team the right way, and get just the right type of players to buy into the coach’s philosophy.
And keeping a perfect blend of strong D with explosive offense makes a team extremely dangerous. So long as Kubiak can keep the balance, they should be a contending team for some time to come.
So, sure the Texans can win a Super Bowl. If they stick to the plan that has made them improve thus far, and their offense continues to produce while their defense continues to punish, a Super Bowl is within their reach.