HOUSTON (AP) – Cornerback Johnathan Joseph and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips arrived in Houston last year and found the NFL’s worst pass defense.
Tall task, right? Not so much.
The two and another newcomer, safety Danieal Manning, helped transform the unit into one of the league’s best as the Texans made the playoffs for the first time. The one-year turnaround was remarkable: In 2010, the Texans allowed a whopping 267.5 yards passing a game. Last season, Houston gave up just 189.7 yards – third fewest in the NFL.
The Texans (No. 6 in the AP Pro32) face new challenges this year along with even bigger goals.
“We’re not patting ourselves on the back, because we’ve still got a lot of work to do,” Manning said. “We want to be the best, no doubt, making plays and we want to see if we can get everybody in the Pro Bowl.”
Joseph earned the honor last season after finishing with 44 tackles and four interceptions in helping Houston capture its first AFC South title. He joined the Texans after spending the first five seasons of his career in Cincinnati.
The most important thing this season for the group, according to Joseph, is simple: The secondary must be consistent.
“It’s one thing to be good one year, it’s hard to be great for three or four years in a row,” he said. “We want to do it longer than one year, of course. We want to be a great defense for years to come.”
Coach Gary Kubiak raved about everything Joseph has brought to his team, and said it makes him feel good knowing that Joseph is on the field to help the team execute Phillips’ schemes.
“It’s a great challenge for all of our offensive guys to go against him every day,” Kubiak said. “He was a big addition to our team. He really raised the level of our play, he and Danieal Manning both, no doubt about that.”