This article is part of our Team Previews series.
STATE OF THE FRANCHISE
The Texans are coming off a euphoric 2011 season, in which the franchise qualified for its first postseason appearance and won its first division title. The feel-good atmosphere eventually ended for the Texans, who were one foot away from the AFC Championship Game. The foot we're talking about wasn't a unit of measure, but rather the fractured Lisfranc joint in Matt Schaub's right foot. In a conference that looked to be there for the taking, losing Schaub was the biggest reason for Houston's second-round elimination at the hands of Baltimore.
The season was good enough for team owner Bob McNair to talk about extending the contract of head coach Gary Kubiak, who surprisingly ranks sixth in the league in tenure. A potent offense has been a characteristic of Houston teams under Kubiak, and that continued in 2011. The big-name skill-players return on offense, led by Arian Foster and Andre Johnson. Lately, it's been a run-first attack, which was second in the NFL last season. Foster was re-upped in the offseason and the developing Ben Tate rushed for 942 yards in 2011. We will see some change on the depth chart in the receiving game, as the Texans are looking for reliable targets beyond Johnson. Tired of waiting for Jacoby Jones to polish his game, the Texans cut him loose and will look at a pack of wideouts during training camp.
Ever since Schaub has been behind center for this team, Houston's offense has been