Maybe it will all be OK. Maybe the defense will rise up when the bell rings for real and find a way to put the brakes on Ben Rothlisberger's offense. But from what we've seen in the preseason, the Texans defense appears to have some work to do.
The lack of a sustained pass rush combined with some lackluster secondary play has to have the coaches concerned. The optimist would say that the year one to year two jump for players like Amobi Okoye and Fred Bennett will make a huge difference. That consistent play from Mario Williams will elevate the entire pass rush. That getting Zac Diles into the fold on a regular basis will only add to their ability to stop the run.
When you look at the names were talking about in Diles, Williams, Bennett and Okoye, you know the Texans are heading into an era in which they will almost exclusively depend on players acquired during the Gary Kubiak era. Not only that but with moves like the release of Anthony Maddox and the harboring of Frank Okam, it's clear that the young Smith-Kubiak draft choices are going to get every chance to prove that they belong in the NFL.
There's nothing wrong with that approach. I received emails from fans wondering about Maddox and why Glenn Earl was dropped in favor of Brandon Harrison and Dominique Barber. While Earl and Maddox have experience and have contributed in the past, their upside has been reached. Players like Okam, Harrison and Barber might take things to another level. There's no guarantee on this, but the Texans need to take that chance.
There are enough salty veterans around to positively influence the younger players. This is the time for the young legs and the home grown talent nourished under Kubiak's staff to make something special happen.