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Thursday, January 9, 2014
What went wrong? Safeties

By Tania Ganguli

Each day for the next week and a half, I'll take a position-by-position look at what went wrong for the Houston Texans this season. A season that began with Super Bowl plans ended 2-14, matching the worst record in franchise history.

The problems weren't exclusive to one position. Almost every unit had something go wrong.

We begin today with safeties.

Key players: Ed Reed, Danieal Manning, D.J. Swearinger, Shiloh Keo, Eddie Pleasant

What went wrong: The Texans had hoped signing Ed Reed would give them not only an elite safety, but also a leader with championship experience they lacked. Instead they got a player who needed surgery for a torn labrum in his hip, to their surprise, and one who was never quite right while he was here. Reed struggled with the twilight of his career. He shared his feeling that he was being misused and said the Texans were outcoached and outplayed in a loss to the Arizona Cardinals the week before he was cut. This group was also hit by a significant injury, a common theme for the 2013 Houston Texans. Danieal Manning, an underrated member of this defense, suffered a severely hyperextended knee against the St. Louis Rams. He went on injured reserve that week.

Reason for hope: There is some here. Manning will get healthy. D.J. Swearinger has shown promise, and Shiloh Keo was the Texans' best safety in coverage per Pro Football Focus' rating.