Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Houston Texans: Ready For the Next Step?

Today marks the 175th anniversary of the day Houston was founded. In 1960 Houston was awarded a franchise in the American Football League. The Oilers won the first two AFL titles (1960, 1961) but moved to Tennessee after the 1996 season. It appeared as if pro football in Houston was over until the NFL awarded Houston an expansion franchise on October 6, 1999.

The NFL's newest franchise, the Houston Texans, begin their 10th season in two weeks but have yet to make the playoffs.

It has been a frustrating nine years for Houston as an expansion team in their four years under Dom Capers went 18-46. The Texans drafted Fresno State quarterback David Carr in 2002. Carr struggled in his years at Houston due to a poor offensive line and the lack of talent around him.

Capers and Carr were out by 2006 and Texans owner Bob McNair brought in former Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak to turn the franchise around. Kubiak's decision to pass on Reggie Bush and hometown UT quarterback Vince Young was criticized as he chose defensive end Mario Williams and traded for Atlanta Falcons' backup quarterback Matt Schaub.

After a rocky 6-10 season in 2006 Kubiak's team began to improve as the Texans posted their first non-losing season in 2007 going 8-8. The following year they finished 8-8 and in 2009 the franchise achieved its' first winning season at 9-7. In 2010 Houston defeated the Colts on opening day and appeared to be the year they would take the next step toward the playoffs but the disappointing season ended at 6-10.

Kubiak held on to his job in the offseason and former Dallas Cowboys' Head Coach Wade Phillips was hired as defensive coordinator.

Houston opens the season against the Colts at home.

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