One of the problems with experiencing some success is that it tends to blind you to the fact that you were ever bad. Had the Texans continued to give up prodigious amounts of yards on the ground after their first three games of the 2009 season, it's fairly unlikely that ex-defensive coordinator Frank Bush would have been able to play a part in ruining the 2010 season.
Had they faced real quarterbacks rather than players like Keith Null, Chad Henne, Vince Young, Alex Smith (who they made look like a superstar), and others of their ilk, the pass defense would have looked much worse than they did. But those games happened, and we have to take the results that happened from them as gospel rather than discounting them at all. For some reason. Experiencing that little bit of success made the Texans think their plan was working when all that was really working for them was the schedule.
This is why you get statements like this, from the man most attuned to the Texans front office these days:
[Comment From TxnDude]
If the Texans dont get one of the top 3 FA prospects at CB AND trade up to get V. Miller, AND find a really good NT, what do you think our chances are of becoming a mediocre defense this year???
John McClain: They were tied for 13th in defense in 2009. They had one bad season in 2010. I think the defense will make big-time improvement under Phillips because it was bad for only one season, not consistently bad for several seasons.
I happen to think that Wade Phillips can make a big improvement on the defense by himself too--but you still need talent if you want to have a good defense. Talent as in good new players, not going into the season with a nose tackle platoon of Shaun Cody and Earl Mitchell.
By the way, the defense was objectively bad for several seasons before 2009. Just because they fluked into a cupcake schedule for their poor secondary doesn't mean that they stopped being bad.
[Comment From Why you lie like that?]
John, The Texans have never had a good defense. It's not just one bad season. What is your problem?
John McClain: Kubiak hired DCs who were his friends. Smith and Bush had never called a defense when he hired them. They were tied for 13th in Bush's first season. That's the top half of the league. Phillips has a proven track record.
Lets take a look at the deflection skills at work here. The statement was that the Texans have never had a good defense. McClain's immediate counter to that is that Kubiak hired bad defensive coordinators (though he won't call them bad) to lead the team. John, I want you to know that I had bacon and eggs for breakfast, and they were delicious.
They were tied for 13th in defense (which, according to FO stats, was actually the 19th best defense in the league that year) by virtue of playing the 27th hardest schedule in the league, including rough games against the NFC West, the Bills, the Raiders. Hell, I'll even give you 13th. How does that make them good? 13th out of 32 teams ain't exactly great--that's three places away from being average rather than good.
But no, it's okay, all we need is the quick turnaround! Viva 2009! Lets use the same team-building ideas we used then to create a team that could finish "13th" in defense against a ridiculously easy schedule. That's sure to work out great!