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News » Houston Texans Inside Slant 2009-05-01

Houston Texans Inside Slant 2009-05-01

Houston Texans Inside Slant 2009-05-01
After watching what his team accomplished in free agency and the draft, owner Bob McNair is so excited about the Texans he expects them to make the playoffs for the first time in club history.

"I'll be disappointed if we don't make the playoffs," McNair said.

The Texans haven't finished with a winning record in their first seven seasons, much less seriously competed for the playoffs, but McNair anticipates this season being different.

"I don't make predictions," McNair said about a playoff guarantee, "but I fully expect us to do it. We're in a much stronger position to make the playoffs than we've ever been."

Like most Texans fans, McNair is happy about a schedule that has them in position for a strong start with three of their first four games at Reliant Stadium.

"I think it's the best schedule we've had," he said. "It seemed like for a number of years we had tougher schedules than others."

After their 0-4 start last season, in which Hurricane Ike forced them to play a third consecutive game on the road to begin the season, the Tex

ans went 8-4, including 6-1 down the stretch. They didn't lose anyone they wanted to keep in free agency and signed five veteran free agents, including four on defense.

Five of their eight draft choices are on defense, including the first two picks -- outside linebacker Brian Cushing and defensive end Connor Barwin.

General manager Rick Smith signed 11 undrafted free agents, including running backs Arian Foster of Tennessee and Jeremiah Johnson of Oregon.

"We were close last year," McNair said about the Texans having their first winning record. "I think with the additions we've made we're a lot better team. Our offense was more than capable. I think there's going to be tremendous improvement on defense. I think we're capable of doing it (playoffs), and I expect that's what we will do."

McNair is fired up about the draft.

"I've never been more confident about a draft, and I've never been more excited about a season," he said. "We filled most of our needs, and we did it with value picks. We didn't have to (reach) for anybody.

"I think our top four or five guys can make immediate contributions."

McNair will make Cushing a multimillionaire before he competes for the starting job on the strong side.

"He's a hard-working kid, determined, with plenty of confidence," McNair said. "He's willing to pay the price. He's a good teammate, a leader. In addition to being a big, strong athlete, he's got the other qualities we're looking for. I don't see any reason he won't step in and make a contribution right away."

Cushing has a quality McNair likes other than talent and versatility.

"I didn't think we were as mentally tough as we needed to be, and all the guys we picked are mentally tough," he said. "That's one of the things it takes in tight games."

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 1, 2009

Chris Brown Name: Chris Brown
Position: RB
Age: 27
Experience: 6 years
College: Colorado
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