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Antonio Smith envisions Texans with number one defense


Defensive end Antonio Smith gave himself the nickname “Tonestradamus” last season for his supposed ability to see the future.

Now that the Texans have added Ed Reed to a defense that already featured 2012 NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt and Pro Bowlers in Smith, cornerback Johnathan Joseph and linebacker Brian Cushing, who's returning with a vengeance from a knee injury, Smith has a prediction about 2013.

"I always thought we (were) a dangerous defense," Smith said Tuesday on Texans Radio. "That's just going to make us even more dangerous, to have all of those weapons. God willing we all stay healthy, I don't know if we're not just a lock in for number one. I do say things like that, because that's how I believe 'em. I'm not going to say I'm going to be second. But I do think that if we stay healthy, man, it's a screw-in to me."

With Watt (2012) and Reed (2004), the Texans are the only team in the NFL with two Defensive Players of the Year. Reed, who signed March 22 as a free agent, brings the experience of 151 career starts, 61 interceptions and a Super Bowl championship to the "Bulls on Parade".

"We've got a defense that was dominant before, and now we've added some new veteran (presence)," Smith said. "(Reed) brings a lot to the game… that I think that normally, people don't look at. You know somebody has to have the game broke down to be able to do what he's did over the amount of years that he's done it. I think that's a lot of wisdom that we need as a team. I still think we're kind of a young team... That's going to be great to have that in the locker room and on the team."

The Texans ranked second on defense in 2011 with Cushing leading the way. They ranked first through four games in 2012 before Cushing, their leading tackler, tore his ACL in Week 5 at the New York Jets. They were the NFL's 13th-ranked defense over the next 11 games and finished the season ranked seventh.

Cushing, the Texans' defensive captain and 2011 MVP, said Monday that he would be ready to play when the season starts.

"Cush is just an animal," Smith said. "I think that it's gonna bring back that wild and crazy, fly-around type of football. I love seeing Cush play. I love watching him go. And then him and J.J. together, man, it's gonna be something wild."

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