The Houston Texans look to build upon a 2011 season in which they won their first Division Championship with the first postseason trip in franchise history.
The team also picked up its first postseason win defeating the Cincinnati Bengals with a rookie quarterback under center.
As the 2012 NFL season approaches the organization has a lot to look back on in but it is a new season with new goals in store and new questions to be answered going in to training camp.
1. Can Matt Schaub bounce back after missing the last half of the 2011 season and the playoffs due to a damaged Lisfranc ligament in his right foot?
Schaub had back-to-back seasons with over 4,000 yards passing in 2009 and 2010 while also throwing for over 20 touchdowns.
He was on pace for almost a similar season in 2011 with 2,479 yards passing while throwing 15 touchdowns. Stats also can't show that he was missing his No. 1 wideout Andre Johnson as Johnson played in just four of those 10 games due to his own injuries.
If Schaub can put up the same types of numbers, look for him to guide Houston to another playoff run.
2. Will the defense build on their dominant 2011 performance?
The defense, led by new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips in 2011, transformed a team that was in the bottom of nearly every defensive stat in 2010 to the top 5 in every major defensive stat in 2011. This performance helped lead the team to the playoffs and it came without defensive superstar Mario Williams, who they lost to injury.
They will play without him in 2012 also, as he left the team via free agency. Houston ranked second in total defense (285.7 ypg), third against the pass(189.7 ypg), fourth against the rush (96 ypg) and forth in points allowed per game(17.4 ppg). If the defense takes another step forward in 2012 this team could be scary come the postseason.
3. How will Andre Johnson play in 2012?
The question here is not if he can still play at the elite level as he showed in the 2011 NFL Playoffs against two solid defenses. Now injuries happen to the best players but for this team to put up the offensive numbers, they need the superstar to be on the field.
Johnson has five seasons over 1,000 yards with four seasons of at least 8 touchdowns. Johnson makes it easy on the offense on every play as teams look to double cover him in passing plays allowing Arian Foster to sneak out the backfield.
Now if he shows teams early that he is the same dominant wideout that will take more than two defensive players to stop him, the rest of the league has major problems to look forward to.
The Texans will go into the 2012 season in a division with a rookie quarterback in Indy, second-year quarterback in Jacksonville and possible second-year quarterback in Tennessee. Look for the defense to be better while the offense put up bigger numbers with a healthy Schaub & Johnson.