Long Road Starts with Defense

By PFC Writer Wayne Lin

The Texans start a long, arduous trek this offseason as they search for players to mesh with new defensive coaches Bill Kolar (defensive line), David Gibbs (secondary), and Frank Bush (defensive coordinator).  They have scouts and coaches eagerly awaiting the scouting combine.  One thing they will not do is transition to the 3-4 defense, a defense that is coming into its own in the NFL.  Traditionally, a team that transitions to the 3-4 defense struggles in their first season because of the personnel that’s required to play it.  Anthony Weaver and Mario Williams aren’t good fits in that system because they would most likely play a hybrid linebacker position, something they’re not accustomed to doing.

Look for the draft to be defense-oriented in picks.  The first player that comes to the Texans mind is Brian Cushing from USC.  He has good speed and has a knack to follow the football.  Another defensive player on the radar for the Texans in the draft is Alphonso Smith from Wake Forest or D.J. Moore from Vanderbilt.  Both players rarely got beat on deep passes and they both have great catch up speed.  Free agency is another possibility to find the right defensive players.  Ray Lewis and Grady Jackson are small possibilities because of their age and heavy price tag.

Either way, anything should be an upgrade next season as the Texans gave up 394 points in the league, an average of 24 points per game, third to last in the AFC behind the lowly Broncos and Chiefs.  Don’t expect the Texans to put the franchise tag on any defensive player this season.  Their top defensive players aren’t eligible as of yet and the others are serviceable.

However, one thing to look forward to next season is the progression of Xavier Adibi and Zac Diles.  Adibi registered 35 tackles last season and has already drawn comparison to Gary Brackett from Indianapolis.  Diles, a second year player out of Kansas State played well, getting 66 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble before he had a season ending knee injury.

Either way you slice it, the offseason will be a long and busy one for the Texans.  Just sit back and enjoy it.