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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Asomugha could be part of solution for Texans in free agency

For all of the talk about how the labor strife has affected rookie players and rookie head coaches, the Texans also are in bind as they look to switch to a 3-4 defense under new coordinator Wade Phillips and, more to the point, modification the entire culture on that side of the ball.

There is important pressure on the franchise to finally break through and reach the playoffs, and that task is only compounded by all of the teaching, learning and bonding time lost because of the lockout. That's all the more reason for the Texans to be fast-growing in free agency, and all the more reason for them to target particular areas of the defense.

The Texans indeed are set up to be aggressive in free agency, according to league sources, and will be among the teams pursuing All-Pro cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.

While awaiting a collective bargaining agreement and fresh free-agency rules, it's very difficult to gauge the market and how high the price for a top cornerback will go. But seek the Texans to nearly monitor that market and determine if the cost point on Asomugha fits their budget.

The secondary is an area in need of advance, and the Texans habitually have been willing to spend under committed owner Bob McNair. So they'll target that area in free agency.

A year ago, the Texans allow cornerback Dunta Robinson go, a move that was understandable given concerns about his injury history and his earnings spiraling on the open market (he signed a six-year, $57 million deal with the Atlanta Falcons). Houston made a concerted push to land free-agent cornerback Leigh Bodden but ultimately lost out as he continued in New England.

Asomugha, who has spent his entire NFL career with the Oakland Raiders, is far and away the premier cornerback available this year, but the Bengals' Jonathan Joseph is another alternative.

Houston also is seeking safety help, and Gerald Sensabaugh is a logical free-agent nominee. I expect the Texans to make a bid for him as well.

Sensabaugh has strong ties to Phillips through their time together in Dallas and knows the coach's system well. Sensabaugh could help teach it to others, with time of the essence after the lockout ends.

Adding a shutdown corner and a dependable safety will be imperative for a Houston team that has fallen prey to critical breakdowns at crucial times and a defense that has yielded shocking amounts of yardage and points far too often. Modify is needed, and Phillips will look to shake up the make-up and attitude of that unit whenever the market lastly opens.

Asomugha could be part of solution for Texans in free agency Rating: 4.5 Diposkan Oleh: Admin


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