David Barer

Many were the dubious Texans fans who did not believe in a .500 season after the abysmal 0-4 start; nevertheless, with the help of offensive standouts Andre Johnson and Steve Slaton, the Texans managed to finish with 8-8 for the second year in a row.

For any football fan around the nation is seems hard to believe the Houston, Texans boast the third best offense in the NFL – bested only by New Orleans and Denver respectively.  The non-stop playmaking of Slaton and Johnson anchored the team in the midst of spotty quarterback production.

Slaton, a rookie, rushed for 1,282 yards this season and nine touchdowns.  Because of his size (5’9 and 210lbs.), at the beginning of the season Slaton was not slotted as an every down back; rather he would compliment Ahman Green as a dynamic, fast cutting alternate.

Soon after the season began Slaton would carry the running load on his shoulders as Ahman Green, staying true to form, got injured early in the season and never recovered.  Slaton shouldered the running game with the poise of an NFL veteran.  The serendipitous pick from Virginia Tech provided blistering breakaway speed, cuts reminiscent of – dare I say – Barry Sanders, yardage after almost every tackle, and excellent receiving.

In Andre Johnson the Texans have found a world class receiver and the rock of the franchise.  Johnson was the NFL leader in receptions and yardage this regular season with 115 receptions, 1575 yards, and 98 plus yards per game.  The low key Johnson has also offered Houston a respite from the drama other teams have faced with hot-shot, self dramatizing receivers — i.e. Terrell Owens, Plaxico Burress, Chad Ocho Cinco.

Despite Slaton’s and Johnson’s stellar seasons there were glaring inconsistencies in the Texans quarterbacking.  Although Shaub’s ended the season with a formidable quarterback rating of 95.3, but we are yet to see him complete a season without injury.  Sage Rosenfels, the often implemented second string QB, showed a microcosm of his year with the Texan’s during the Colt’s horrific comeback in the final minutes of the fourth game: he squandered 17 points, threw two interceptions, and inadvertently attempted a bizarre, aerial helicopter maneuver while fumbling the ball.

The Texan’s sub par defense will need revamping as well.  The teams administration cleaned house recently by firing the defensive coordinator, defensive backs coach, and defensive line coach.

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