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Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
HOUSTON -- Prevailing wisdom is that the Texans' defense will be pretty good up front -- where Mario Williams, Amobi Okoye and DeMeco Ryans work -- and pretty iffy in the back.
Cornerback Dunta Robinson won't return from his injury until October or so, which leaves questions at cornerback. And the starting safeties right now, C.C. Brown at strong and Will Demps at free, are not the fastest duo.
If the rush isn't constant, some early quarterbacks Houston faces -- Ben Roethlisberger, David Garrard and Peyton Manning in the first five weeks -- could pick the Texans apart.
"It's a challenge for us, definitely people think the secondary is a weakness, but that's what preseason is for," said Demps, who joined the team after last season had started. "This is my first offseason and training camp with these guys and I see a big change...
"Until [Robinson] gets back we have to hold it down."
The Texans emphasized speed-and-size combinations at cornerback in the offseason, bringing in veteran Jacques Reeves from Dallas (just 5-foot-11, but 192 pounds) and drafting Antwaan Molden (6-foot-1, 198). The Texans believe they are asking Reeves to do things better suited to him and that Molden is quickly grasping the NFL game though his college experience came at Eastern Kentucky. As a rookie in 2007, Fred Bennett led the team in interceptions with three in 13 games and eight starts.
"I don't think it's as bad as people think it is... I'm real happy with them right now," defensive coordinator Richard Smith said of his secondary. "We certainly miss Robinson, not having him is a very negative things for us... [But] I'm excited about the back end. I think we're pretty solid at safety. It's not that we've got great speed at the position, but we've got a lot of competition going on there."
I'll be watching the group Saturday night at Reliant Stadium to see how much it gives up to Jay Cutler and the Broncos.