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The Texans Offense Will Be Better This Season Because...

In 2010, the Texans had the best running back in football statistically, the best wide receiver in football subjectively, their quarterback threw for over 4,300 yards for the second year in a row, and they gained the third most yards in the National Football League.

So with little room for improvement, how does an offense with that profile get better in 2011?
If you buy into total yards equating to offensive prowess, then the answer is “Finish first or second in yards.”

Here are four other reasons the Texans offense will be better in 2011:
1. Owen Daniels is healthy for the first time since 2009. If you remember back to the first half of 2009, the Texans tight end was on pace for a Pro Bowl season. Then he shredded his knee, suffered a setback in spring 2010, and then
battled a hamstring throughout 2010. Now fully healthy and with a $22 million contract in hand, Daniels is ready to be a difference maker and the team’s number two threat in the passing game again.

2. James Casey at fullback has a chance to keep opposing defensive coordinators up nights. We all loved Vonta Leach but the only thing sillier than paying a blocking fullback $4 million per year (around what the Ravens gave him) was
a blocking fullback finishing 63rd in the NFL Top 100 (which is where Leach finished). Casey appears to be at least a decent replacement blocking wise, but the fun begins with his versatility.
A former quarterback and former baseball player (versatile, baby!), Casey can throw, he can split out wide and he can run the ball. As much as the team hated to see Vonta Leach go, Gary Kubiak has to feel like he just unlocked
about fifteen different video game cheat codes on the fullback position. Indeed, James Casey may be the first ever “fun fullback to watch.”

3. Last season, the Texans “third best overall offense ranking was a bit of fool’s gold.” For as prolific as the unit was in piling up gobs of yardage, their inconsistency was maddening. Consider that last season the Texans averaged just over three points per quarter in the first quarter of their games last season, and in nine games they were shut out altogether in the first quarter. Yes, the defense was rotten, some weeks historically so, but the offense didn’t do the team any favors by opting to move the start time for the game back roughly an hour each week for their unit. Much like the Texans defense as a whole, I think the Texans first quarter offense will be better largely because it can’t really get any worse.

4. You can see health being a recurring theme here. Maybe I’m getting giddy a little too early, it was only one preseason game, but Ben Tate going for 95 yards on nine carries gives me a very tingly feeling. A healthy Tate means (a) another backfield threat, (b) a fresher Arian Foster, and (c) the possibility of Foster and Tate on the field together (do it, Gary!).