The Houston Texans, who were the 2011 AFC South Division champions, had the vibe throughout the city of Houston and around the league that the Texans are the team to beat in the AFC in 2012.
Since the season has ended, and and the free-agent period has opened, have the Texans gotten better or worse?
Going into the 2012 season the City of Houston had this special feeling that they were on their way to a Super Bowl. With a top three-ranked defense and a running game with Arian Foster that is the league's leading rusher when combining 2010 and 2011 seasons.
With the best running tandem in the league with the emergence of 2010 second round pick Ben Tate. What makes the Texans run game so good is their offensive line which is regarded as the best zone run block line in the NFL and one of the best overall. What makes them so good?
The continuity of the line, having the same linemen play so many consecutive games together. When free agency opened two linemen hit the open market with center Chris Myers who has since been recently resigned by the Texans and guard Mike Brisiel who has been signed by the Oakland Raiders.
The Texans also unexpectedly released right tackle Eric Winston who was still under contract for three more years. They never approached him for a contract restructure and instead went ahead and waived him; he has since been signed for a bigger contract by the Kansas City Chiefs. Many people thought the Texans were not pursuing some of their own free agents and the release of Winston in hopes of a attempt to make a run at Mario Williams who has become the highest paid defensive player by the Buffalo Bills.
So you have to ask, why did the Texans let go of forty percent of their starting offensive line, which paved the way for Arian Foster but go ahead and make a big investment in Foster?
At this moment it is hard to push the panic button while its unclear what the Texans front office are doing as they have made no moves in free agency besides retaining Myers and Foster. There still is the NFL Draft. Going into the Draft it has been widely speculated that the Texans would take a premier wide receiver in the first round to complement Andre, which brings me to another question.
Why is Jacoby Jones still on the roster? Why did Eric Winston get cut to create approximately four million in cap space when cutting Jacoby would've created a little more than that in cap space?
While it is unclear what Texans GM Rick Smith is doing it is still too early to panic, as the Texans will sign free agents through training camp and the draft. I hope that the Texans do not stray away from drafting a receiver in the first round such as Stephen Hill or Alshon Jeffery as they will be looking to now add depth to the holes that have now been created with the departure of Mario Williams and the offensive line.
Update 6:14 PM The Texans have just traded Demeco Ryans, two-time Pro-Bowler and defensive team captain for the Texans top three ranked defense has just been traded to the Eagels for a undisclosed draft pick