Word on the street is that the Texans are dead set on pursuing Nnamdi Asomugha once the owners and players decide to stop acting like small children. It's not exactly Titans news, but as a Titans fan, this kind of gives me the willies. Should it really though? I've got a hard time deciding whether or not Nnamdi to the Texans would improve their historically terrible secondary enough to give them a massive advantage over three teams who could have some really, really good quarterbacks in a couple of years assuming all goes well with Peyton's neck surgery. Also, before we get too freaked out, let's take a step back for a second: Rick Smith is still Houston's general manager. Two things are important about this statement: 1.) Duslin is a better GM than Rick Smith. This is irrefutable. 2.) Because of this, I have my doubts that he'd be able to lock up one of the best players to hit the free agency market in years.
To come up with some evidence to support my prior theory, I hit up Football Outsiders again.
While I was disappointed to not find a database of cornerbacks based on coverage rating, (which may exist, I was just unsuccessful in finding one) I did uncover some fairly basic team DVOA's for defenses in 2010. Consider this: The Oakland Raiders were evidently a much better team when it came to stopping the run as opposed to stopping the pass. In fact, they were so bad at stopping the pass, that their superb run defense was barely enough to keep their team DVOA in the negative numbers (which is a good thing in this case). The final product was actually a not half-bad defense that ranked tenth in the NFL. The fact remains that teams like the Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers, and Cleveland Browns all had better pass defenses in 2010. Heck, even the 2010 Tennessee Titans were a better team when it came to defending the pass.
This leads me to believe that Nnamdi Asomugha isn't enough to turn around a disaster like Houston's. If he couldn't save a bad, but not Texan bad secondary in Oakland, how much could he really do out in Houston by himself? He would certainly help, but he's not an instant fix. They would need to see an uptick in production all across the board to remedy a defense whose 2010 pass defense efficiency rating was a staggeringly awful 37%.
As for the offense's that each team was facing in 2010? Houston's opponents averaged 19.9% while Oakland's averaged 15.4%. Not a huge discrepancy, but one worth noting. Houston was facing off against tougher opponents week in and week out.
In short, this may seem painfully obvious to some, but I was actually somewhat surprised to learn that Asomugha, who some would consider the best cornerback to play in the last decade or so, would still not be enough to make Houston's secondary average.
Now, does this make me feel much better? No, absolutely not. Having to see "Asomugha" plastered across those Battle Red Abominations would make me both cry and soil myself, not necessarily in that order. He's an unbelievable player that would instantly upgrade that team, but unless they get someone at least decent to line up next to him and a couple of average safeties, I think their pass defense will be Raider-worthy at best.
However, what scares me is that that might be enough. I fully expect a typical Texan season, (lots of buildup, average performance, super disappointing/hilarious ending to the season) but I'm not sleeping on them in 2011 with Wade Phillips taking over as coordinator and what seems to be some solid talent acquired for the front seven in the draft.