Will inexperience at cornerback hold the Texans back in 2010?

INDIANAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 08: Pierre Garcon #85 of the Indianapolis Colts runs with the ball while defended by Jacques Reeves #35 and Glover Quin #29 of the Houston Texans during the NFL game at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 8, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts won 20-17.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Merry preseason, everyone. It’s been a long offseason, but football is finally gearing up again and to celebrate I’m rolling out a new series on TSR entitled “2010 NFL Question Marks,” where I discuss one or two of the biggest concerns that teams have heading into the new season. Granted, some teams have more issues than others, but I’ll primarily be focusing on the biggest problem areas. Today I’ll be discussing whether or not inexperience could derail the Texans’ playoff hopes.

As we head into a new season, you get the sense that the Houston Texans are on the verge of making their first playoff appearance in franchise history. They have a great core on offense featuring Andre Johnson, Matt Schaub and Owen Daniels (when healthy), as well as several young defensive playmakers in Amobi Okoye, Mario Williams and DeMeco Ryans.

But unfortunately, the Texans still have plenty of question marks at the cornerback position, enough to make you wonder if this team will once again come up short in their bid to make the postseason.

Their top corner left via free agency this offseason when Dunta Robinson signed with the Falcons. Some pundits will point out that Robinson struggled last year – and he did, recording zero interceptions despite playing the full 16-game slate.

But I asked both Daniels and wide receiver David Anderson this offseason about what Robinson brought to their team and they both essentially said the same thing: Toughness. Despite being 5’10” and 182 pounds, Robinson often played like a middle linebacker in that he never shied away from contract and loved coming up to make a big hit.

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2009 CFB Preview: Alabama Crimson Tide

Check out our other 2009 college football previews.

Preseason Ranking: No. 5 in AP Top 25; No. 5 in USA Today Poll.

Key Returning Players: Greg McElroy (QB); Mark Ingram (RB); Julio Jones (WR); Rolando McClain (LB); Don’t’a Hightower (LB); Cory Reamer (LB); Brandon Deaderick (DE); Terrence Cody (DT); Brandon Fanney (DT); Justin Woodall (S); Javier Arenas (CB); Kareem Jackson (CB); Leigh Tiffin (K).

Key Losses: Glen Coffee (RB); John Parker Wilson (QB); Rashad Johnson (S); Andre Smith (OT); Antoine Caldwell (C); Marlon Davis (G); Bobby Greenwood (DE); Travis McCall (TE); Nick Walker (TE).

Player to Watch: Terrence Cody, DT.
At 365 pounds, Cody is without a doubt the key cog in Bama’s defensive line. “Mount Cody” tallied 24 tackles with 4.5 tackles for loss last season, which made him a consensus First-Team All-American. He was also named a First-Team All-SEC selection by the conference coaches, as well as the AP. As long as he can stay healthy (he missed some time last season with a sprained MCL), Cody will once again be a force in the interior of Bama’s defensive line.

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