Yesterday, on my radio show at high noon, when the Texans' roster of free agent signings consisted of three re-signings of their own free agent backups on offense, I invoked prayer to help find what was clearly a disabled or trapped Wade Phillips. I assumed something was wrong with him because he is the Texans' savior, and we need defense.
Within hours of the prayer, we (apparently) found Wade and (likely) got him over to Reliant. I know this because within six hours of the prayer, the Texans had signed cornerback Johnathan Joseph to a five-year deal, and by 10:00 p.m. they'd signed safety/kick returner Danieal Manning.
Two glaring needs on defense, filled. Power of prayer, people.
As for my reaction to these moves...
It's impossible to react any way but positively to these moves if you're a Texans fan. Truth be told, the Texans could have signed a rodeo clown and bathroom attendant to play cornerback and safety next season, and the moves would have been positive. The secondary was atrocious last season, one of the worst units I've seen in thirty-plus years of watching football. Anything would have been an improvement.
These moves represent a major improvement, any way you slice it. Look at last year's starting secondary:
CB - rookie Kareem Jackson (wound up having a season where he was a fixture on every other team's season highlight DVD) CB - second year guy Glover Quin (best player in the Texans' secondary, which is the ultimate "tallest midget" compliment) S - Bernard Pollard (limitations in coverage exposed, and his sizable bark felt like bluster by the end of the season, which isn't all his fault. He wasn't good, though.) S - Eugene Wilson (next)
The scary thing is that looked scary going into last season. It played out even scarier. It wasn't anything where people thought the secondary was going to be good. It was a concern, everyone knew it, no one fixed it. Season sunk.
Here is this year's secondary, for now:
CB - Jackson (worst case, he gets replaced with rookie Brandon Harris, who can't be any worse than Jackson was last year; best case, Jackson becomes a competent NFL corner) CB - Joseph (very, very good veteran corner) S - Danieal Manning (another good veteran, also potent return guy) S - Quin (who is considered a better safety prospect than corner)
Unlike last season, this actually looks like you're solid to strong (to maybe even VERY strong) at three of the four spots. A pass rush would certainly help, but the Texans have conducted themselves this offseason like a real NFL team. The influence of Phillips is palpable and welcomed.
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So now we're all excited for 2011. Probably nobody more so than Wade Phillips, who we now know is healthy and safe (phew!). And probably dancing around his office on Kirby, maybe even to the YMCA....
(NOTE: The "Wade Phillips Video Guide to Reception Line Dances" on DVD -- Electric Slide, Macarena, Achy Breaky, Hokey Pokey. I would buy this. Seriously.)
Listen to Sean Pendergast on Sirius 94/XM 208 and 1560 The Game, and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.