Texans Confidence Rating: Defensive Tackle
DT Abomi Okoye (Getty Images)
DT Abomi Okoye (Getty Images)
Posted Aug 11, 2009
Brendan Sonnone

Before any team starts a season, there are always a handful of questions to answer. How will the quarterback play be? Will your top players stay injury free? Does your team have enough depth to overcome injuries?

There is seemingly an endless list of questions that coaches, fans and journalists alike will have about every team before a season begins. Usually, the more times you say “yes” the better. What really instills confidence though is when there aren’t even questions to answer.

The Texans have some questions, like any team in the NFL, but the questions this season appear to revolve more around health than talent, as Houston seems fit to compete. To further analyze how confident fans should be of the team, we’ll take a look at each position’s positives, lingering questions, and how the position should perform. We will follow this with an overall confidence level, running from 0-10, 10 being the highest.

Defensive Tackle

Pressing Question: Can Amobi Okoye be dominant through the entire season?

Breakdown: Okoye came out of the gate strong as a rookie in 2007, accumulating four sacks in September. Since then, he has had a meager 2.5 sacks in roughly 28 games. Season three for the 22-year-old obviously is a big one. A physical specimen for his age, Okoye should benefit from lining up next to Mario Williams, but he needs to be more productive and needs to stay healthy. Travis Johnson, a 2005 first-rounder, is on an even hotter seat and failure to produce early might earn him a pink slip. There are also high expectations for Frank Okam, a massive 337 lb. tackle who might be better suited as a nose tackle, which could come to fruition as the Texans will likely toy with the 3-4. Shaun Cody is a versatile player who can provide depth.

The Big If? If one of Houston’s tackles live up to expectations, than the defense could turn into a more than solid group.

Our Call: Okoye should emerge as a very good tackle this season as he begins to mature. His growth as a player and his ability to stay healthy should enable him to be a stop-tier tackle. Still, he might be too small to be a nose tackle if the team goes to the 3-4 and in the 4-3 he’ll undoubtedly need help inside and Okam might be the only player capable of doing so, but he has a long ways to go.

Confidence Rating: 6

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