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Houston Texans

New direction for Texans' defense as draft approaches


It's the second week of the Texans' draft meetings, and defensive prospects are under the microscope.

General manager Rick Smith and the Texans' coaches and scouts meet five days a week at Reliant Stadium from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. They looked at offensive players last week and will review both sides of the ball next week.

It's defense that the Texans are expected to focus on in the 2011 draft, given the team's struggles there in 2010. New Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has brought 35 years of coaching experience to pre-draft discussions, much to the liking of head coach Gary Kubiak.

"Obviously, he's been doing it a long time, so it's instant credibility from that standpoint," Kubiak said on Wednesday. "(He's) been very successful doing it. I also like the fact that (linebackers coach) Reggie's (Herring) come with him from Dallas, because they've worked together and been successful together.

"We're looking for a little bit of a different type of player on defense right now, so it has made the meetings a little different than they have been in the last couple of years. Change has been good, and I'm very excited about the direction we're heading."

Specifically, the Texans are looking at different kinds of linebackers and defensive linemen as they switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4 under Phillips' watch.

"We're talking about defensive ends that play more inside type stuff, three-technique, five-technique," Kubiak said. "I don't want to get into too much football, but obviously, it's different. It's different than the 4-3. We're going to have a lot more linebackers on our football team, which should make our special teams better. It's a different way of filling out our roster."

The Texans were in a draft meeting yesterday when the NFL released the 2011 preseason schedule.

Pending a resolution of the current lockout, the Texans will open their preseason at home on Monday Night Football against the New York Jets. That'll be followed by games versus New Orleans, at San Francisco and at Minnesota.

As they have in each of the last three preseasons, the Texans and Saints will practice against each other in the week leading up to their game.

"The first thing that jumps at me is we're playing a team that was in the AFC Championship (Jets) early," Kubiak said. "Obviously, (we're) going to be playing a lot of young guys in that game, but that's a good start.

"We get New Orleans again. We get to work against them for a few days, so I like that. And we go to San Francisco, which has, to me, one of the finest young teams in football, and a new coach. So a couple of 3-4 teams, a couple of 4-3 teams defensively. It's a good preseason, and hopefully we'll get everything settled here and ready to do it."

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