Commentary

Plugging the Holes: AFC South

Important offseason questions about the Texans, Colts, Jaguars and Titans

Originally Published: February 11, 2011
By Tom Gower | Football Outsiders
Wade PhillipsGetty ImagesWade Phillips takes over a Houston Texans defense that was porous in 2010.

On Wednesday, Football Outsiders began its Plugging the Holes series, in which it will target the offseason issues facing each team in the NFL by division. Tom Gower continues with the AFC South.

In this edition, Outsiders looks at the Texans' and Jaguars' defensive problems, the Colts' lack of offensive firepower and the Titans' coaching vacancies.


Houston Texans: Do they have the players to run Wade Phillips' 3-4 defense?

The Texans were a terrible defensive team in 2010. They finished last in the league in Football Outsiders' DVOA ratings for pass defense. They gave up 24 or more points in 14 games, holding only the Rusty Smith-led Titans and the Trent Edwards-led (and Maurice Jones-Drew-less) Jaguars below that threshold. The solution: out with defensive coordinator Frank Bush and the 4-3 defense, and in with Phillips and the 3-4.

The Texans probably have the right parts on the defensive line to run Phillips' version of a 3-4, which places less of a premium on large, space-eating defensive linemen. Their problem is that they may not have four linebackers who could start in the 3-4.


To read the rest of Football Outsiders' analysis of the Houston Texans, plus answers to key questions for every other team in the AFC South, you must be an ESPN Insider.