The question: Can second-year QB David Carr withstand another season of 70-plus sacks? Carr had his expected ups and downs, but most alarming is the fact he did not throw a TD the final six games. He was sacked 76 times (4.75 per game), including seven games with at least five.
With Tony Boselli still on the mend from surgery (he missed the entire 2002 season), the Texans re-signed T Jimmy Herndon as insurance for Carr's blind side.
The Texans' inaugural season got off to a resounding start with a season-opening victory against Dallas, but wins were few (3) and far between (12 losses) after that. Still, there is reason to be optimistic, and it starts with the core of young talent.
G Zach Wiegert -- Offensive line aren’t generally regarded as major offseason coups, but Wiegert gives Houston something it desperately needs: protection for second-year franchise QB David Carr.
Entering his ninth season, Wiegert played in only seven games last season, his second injury-shortened season in three years. In fact, he has never played in consecutive 16-game seasons, and has only made it through a complete season three times (though he did have one 15-game campaign).
Nonetheless, Wiegert will be counted on to step into the starting lineup at right guard, where he’ll play alongside Greg Randall, who was acquired March in a trade with New England.
LB Jeff Posey -- Hard to imagine a former free agent who had been with four teams since 1997 before joining Houston last season as a major loss, but Posey will be missed. He had 49 tackles, a team-leading 8 sacks, one interception and forced two fumbles for the Texans, but left as a free agent to join Buffalo’s starting lineup in 2003.
WR Andre Johnson -- David Carr had his moments in his rookie year, although most of it was spent on his back. Having a real speed burner like Johnson, the third overall pick in the draft, will help Carr develop into a quality QB. However, unlike Charles Rogers, he has some talent around him like Jabar Gaffney and Corey Bradford who can protect him from double teams, allowing him to show off his speed. Rookie WRs are always a gamble, but Johnson might be a smart pick especially later in the draft.
RB James Allen -- He was a former 1,000-yard rusher, but he's quickly turning into the team's third-down receiving back, which rarely yields big fantasy points. He lost his starting job to Jonathan Wells last year, and Wells could be supplanted by offseason pickup Stacy Mack, who's rushed for 18 TDs the past two seasons for Jacksonville.
TE Billy Miller -- He was one of the bigger surprises last season, catching a team-high 51 passes for 613 yards and three scores - solid numbers for a tight end. While Carr's receivers continue to develop, Miller will be a solid safety valve, especially if the offensive line continues to give him little protection..
It never hurts to dream. There are too many holes to fill, but GM Charley Casserly is building a contender in a very methodical manner.
Second-year franchises just don’t make it to the postseason. … Then again, Dom Capers did it with Carolina in 1996.