Major injuries: Quin (hand, Week 11), Paymah (wrist, Week 10)
Position coach: David Gibbs (9th NFL season, 2nd with Texans)
Year in review: In Quin and Jackson, the Texans had one of the youngest starting cornerback duos in the NFL. They were part of a defense that ranked 32nd against the pass, allowing 267.5 yards per game.
Quin, a fourth-round pick in 2009, had a team-high 14 passes defensed and was second on the team in tackles. He intercepted the first three passes of his career in Week 12 vs. Tennessee, setting a franchise record for interceptions in a game.
Jackson had a disappointing rookie season after being drafted 20th overall out of Alabama. He was beaten for several long touchdown passes in the first half of the season, but he began to settle down in the second half as he platooned with other players. Jackson finished with two interceptions and 71 tackles and ranked second on the team with 10 passes defensed.
The Texans claimed Allen off waivers on Nov. 11 after he was released by the Dolphins. In seven games with Houston, the 2006 first-round pick tied for the team lead with three interceptions. He had six interceptions total on the season.
Season highlight: Week 12 vs. Tennessee. Quin picked off Titans rookie quarterback Rusty Smith three times to key a 20-0 victory at Reliant Stadium. Playing with a broken hand, he also had five passes defensed en route to winning AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors.
Quin’s first interception came early in the second quarter and set up the Texans’ first touchdown. His next two picks came in the fourth quarter, both inside the Texans’ three-yard line to preserve their first shutout since 2004. Smith finished with 138 passing yards, zero touchdowns and a passer rating of 26.7.
Season lowlight: Week 10 at Jacksonville, Week 11 at New York Jets. The Texans became the first team in NFL history to lose consecutive games on a go-ahead touchdown pass in the final 10 seconds.
In Week 10, Quin accidentally batted a 50-yard Hail Mary pass into the arms of Jags receiver Mike Thomas as time expired. In Week 11, Quin was in coverage on Santonio Holmes’ six-yard touchdown catch with 10 seconds remaining.
Quin was hardly the lone culprit in either game. Jaguars quarterback David Garrard had 342 passing yards and two touchdowns, while the Jets’ Mark Sanchez had 315 and three scores. The Jets trailed 27-23 with 49 seconds left to play, no timeouts and the ball at their own 28-yard line. They scored in only five plays, one of which was a 42-yard catch by Braylon Edwards down the right sideline.
Notable number: 53.2 – Completion percentage allowed by Jackson (50 of 94 passes) in 2010. It was the best rate among Texans cornerbacks, and better than the completion percentage allowed by rookie Pro Bowler Devin McCourty (54.5 percent) of the Patriots.
Key splits: Jackson’s 53.2 completion percentage rate also compares favorably to some of the league’s top cornerbacks in their first years as starters: Nnamdi Asomugha (46.3 in 2005), Champ Bailey (47.8 in 1999), Charles Woodson (49.0 in 1998) and Darrelle Revis (59.1 in 2007).
Jackson and Revis’ first-year starting lines are almost identical. Jackson allowed 50 completions on 94 attempts; Revis allowed 55 completions on 93 attempts. Jackson had with two interceptions; Revis had three. Both players had 10 passes defensed.
Quotable: “We should have broke his hand at the start of the season. It must have just leveled things out or something. He’s a great kid. He plays very hard. He came off a humbling experience in Jacksonville. He handled it like a man, and good things happen to people that just keep battling and stay after it, and that’s what he’s all about.”
- Texans coach Gary Kubiak, after the Texans beat the Titans in Week 12, on Quin, who had three interceptions while playing with a cast on his broken right hand
Looking ahead: The Texans have a new defensive backs coach in Vance Joseph. They might have a shuffling of personnel at cornerback this offseason as well.
The Texans think that Quin could excel at free safety, so he could move there depending on how they feel about the rest of their corners. The team still has high hopes for Jackson and expects him to play much better in his upcoming second season.
Allen, McManis, McCain and Molden are among a young nucleus of corners who are still under contract. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Texans add a veteran or two to the mix, if and when free agency occurs. Most pundits also expect the Texans to address the cornerback position in the draft.