One hundred days until the draft, one step closer to the Super Bowl

Call me crazy for thinking about April already, but the bittersweet ending to the Houston Texans’ first unforgettable playoff run has left me more anxious for a new season than ever before.

Needless to say, Sunday’s loss was absolutely heartbreaking for me. In fact, “heartbreaking” might be an understatement. My legs were shaking the entire time. I yelled and screamed and bawled for longer than a normal person should once the game was over. I felt the same pain that was stricken across Andre Johnson’s face on the sidelines. I didn’t want to see the road end here, but the Texans went farther and overcame more than anyone gave them credit for, which is beyond what any fan could want from his or her team.

Andre Johnson watches the final minutes of the fourth quarter in the Jan. 15 game vs. Baltimore (Houston Chronicle)

Andre Johnson watches the final minutes of the fourth quarter in the Jan. 15 game vs. Baltimore (Houston Chronicle)

Since Sunday, I’ve been through a series of ups and downs. I’ve spent a large chunk of these past couple of days reflecting on that game — certain players’ mistakes, the ridiculous turnovers and — most importantly — what can be done in the offseason to avoid these mistakes. Not once did I consider the “what ifs” regarding whether Matt Schaub or Mario Williams had been healthy the entire season. When your team gets this far without them, why bother?

I’m not saying the Texans don’t need these guys. Of course they need Schaub, Super Mario, Foster, Andre Johnson, Brian Cushing, J.J. Watt, Owen Daniels, James Casey, Connor Barwin…the list goes on. With these guys and Wade Phillips (thank goodness!) returning, the Texans are poised to be 2012-2013 AFC Champions — even Super Bowl Champions.

But to truly contend for a title, you need to have every piece of the puzzle. That means Houston needs to evaluate what it truly needs to complete its puzzle this offseason, which I believe begins with one major piece: A reliable wide receiver.

I’m not suggesting the Texans draft a wide receiver solely based on Jacoby Jones’ less-than-stellar performance against Baltimore. I’ve never had faith in Jacoby to get the job done, and he sealed my lack of faith in him with his mistakes against the Ravens. I’m also certainly not suggesting the Texans draft a wide receiver to replace Johnson. However, with Johnson’s injuries these past couple of years, it couldn’t hurt to have one more guy lightening the veterans’ load on the field.

Jacoby Jones bobbles a punt early in the Jan. 16 game against Baltimore (Houston Chronicle)

Jacoby Jones bobbles a punt early in the Jan. 16 game against Baltimore (Houston Chronicle)

The Texans could also use a cornerback, another linebacker and key guys on offense. Luckily, they have guys in place (if they stay healthy) to completely dominate the division next season. No one can deny they’ve made excellent draft picks in the past couple of years, and if the trend continues, I believe we have a Super Bowl-contending team in Houston for 2012.

Houston has 100 days to think about the draft. It also has 100 days to reflect on its best season yet, even if the playoff run ended prematurely. I’ll be counting down these 100 days and thinking about every highlight from this season, including my favorite:

Until then, I’ll leave you with this: GO TEXANS, and see you in New Orleans Feb. 3, 2013.

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About LisaKCarter

I'm a graduate student at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. I'm also a Texas State alumna and former reporter in Las Vegas. During my time at Texas State, I served at the University Star's sports editor all four years. I've covered football, volleyball, cross country, basketball and golf. One of my biggest accomplishments was breaking the story on Texas State's move to the Football Bowl Subdivision and its invitation to the Western Athletic Conference -- arguably the biggest news in Texas State Athletics history and a story I followed since my first semester on staff. I also worked for publications outside of the Star, covering high school sports for various local papers. Additionally, I was an intern on the metro desk at the San Antonio Express-News in Summer 2010 where I had several stories run on the Metro cover and front page. I interned on the business desk at the Austin American-Statesman and at NearSay, a website that focuses on hyperlocal news in New York City. After graduation, I was one of 22 students selected to attend the Poynter Fellowship for College Journalists, and it was the best experience of my life. When I'm not writing, you'll most likely find me reading, watching sports or working out. Follow me as I embark on my professional career in journalism.

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