The Houston Texans have been on the brink of making that final push to secure their first ever playoff berth as a franchise.
Last year, the determined Texans finished 9 and 7 in the AFC South; however the key is the Texans being able to figure out Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts and shutting their offense down enough in the fourth quarter of games to make that breakthrough.
The drafting of former Westside High School and Alabama Tide standout Kareem Jackson is part of the plan to help the Texans’ defense shut down Manning and other challengers in the tough AFC South.
Cornerback became a priority when former Texans’ star Dunta Robinson became a free agent and went back to his home state of Georgia to sign with the NFC South Atlanta Falcons.
Jackson, a Nick Saban-coached player, is seen as someone who can conceivably step in right away and make a quick transition from college to the NFL.
Most of the talk about Jackson has been positive, and the Macon, Georgia native will join former Alabama Tide players Demeco Ryans and Antione Caldwell on the Texans’ defense.
The Texans coaching staff has been impressed by Jackson as the offseason training activities commence.
“He went to work with the first group, and he looked good,” coach Gary Kubiak said. “We have very high expectations for him.”
The Texans’ defense will have to get better in 2010 along with Matt Schaub cutting down on 4th quarter errors to take that proverbial next step.
Defensively, the Texans were average among the NFL’s 32 teams. The defense gave up nearly 21 points a game along with being in the lower half of pass defense at #18 in the NFL. The run defense was more reliable, but still gave up 106 rushing yards a game which puts them at #12 in the NFL last season.
Two games versus the Colts symbolized the struggles of the Texans’ defense in 2009. The first game was a relatively low-scoring affair, a 20-17 loss and the second loss involved a Colts’ 21 point fourth quarter that resulted in a 35-27 Colts’ victory. The Colts’ two wins in a span of three weeks put the Texans on the outside of acquiring a playoff spot and couldn’t quite recover.
Coincidentally, the Houston Texans open their 2010 regular season on September 12 th at home vs. Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts.
Kareem Jackson was drafted to replace Robinson and the Texans aren’t wasting any time in getting the former Alabama Tide star acclimated with the Texans’ first-team defense for the start of OTAs or organized team activities.
When Jackson was first drafted by the Texans in late April, Texans’ management was impressed with his solid tackling skills and aggressive style. Jackson feels that his physical style of play is one of his major attributes.
“I’m going to be real feisty out there. I’m going to be real physical. Receivers are going to know I’m there. I’m going to do whatever it takes to make plays out there.”
The Texans GM Rick Smith and coach Gary Kubiak are showing a lot faith in their first round draft choice and since Day one , Jackson has been projected as an opening day starter. And it appears, Jackson is embracing the challenge.
“I’m going to learn their defense fast and play wherever I’m needed. I’m a quick learner. I’m going to be physical out there and you can expect that from me every play.”