1) Wade Phillips’ defenses typically are very solid.
While the Texans were a bad defense all-around last year, they were especially bad against the pass. Kareem Jackson was given a baptism by fire as a starting cornerback, Bernard Pollard is purely a run-stopper, and Eugene Wilson vied with Troy Nolan to see who could be the worst starting safety in the NFL. Completed Hail Marys, last second comebacks, and tipped passes that landed in the hands of opponents were among the comedy of errors that this defense had allowed to happen. By Football Outsiders DVOA ratings, the Texans were roughly 37% worse than the average NFL defense against the pass.
Wade Phillips has had a long and prestigious career as a defensive coordinator, but the consistency is what is most alarming when you look at his statistical record.. Up until last season, Phillips’ Cowboys had ranked as an average or above unit against both the run and the pass all three years that he’d coached them. In fact, other than his 1994 season in Denver, his 2003 season in Atlanta, and last year in Dallas, Phillips has put together an average or above-average defense by Football Outsiders’ DVOA in every season he’s coached that we have advanced statistics for. That’s 14 of 17 seasons. Including every season that he started anew with a team. In 13 of those 17, the teams that he’s coached have been average or better at pass defense specifically, meaning he should be able to improve the biggest weakness the Texans have.