In our eight-part Making the Grade, we look back at the Texans' 2-14 season in 2013. We've already looked at the secondary, running backs, linebackers, coaches, quarterback and defensive line. Up now: offensive line.
When the Texans won 12 games and went back to the playoffs in 2012, their offensive line was a huge strength.
This season, the line wasn't nearly as good. They went from 10th to 21st in ProFootballFocus' offensive line rankings.
Duane Brown is heading back to the Pro Bowl but wasn't near the player he was in 2012, when he was arguably the best left tackle in football. Brown had to deal with a turf toe injury, which hindered him for a good portion of the season.
Wade Smith had a knee injury all season, although the veteran offensive guard didn't like to talk about it. He wasn't the Pro Bowler the team had in 2012 but he played through pain and was still the best option.
Chris Myers is a Pro Bowl alternate this year, even though he was probably better this year than last. He had a good season.
Brandon Brooks is still learning but looked like a player who has the potential to be a very good guard in the league.
Derek Newton was clearly the weakest link on the unit.
The other two members of the line who got considerable playing time were backup tackle Ryan Harris and backup guard Ben Jones.
The Texans drafted two offensive tackles -- Brennan Williams (third round) and David Quessenberry (sixth round) -- but both went on the Injured Reserve before the season began.
Brown might have been the best lineman on the team but he didn't live up to his potential. Myers, on the other hand, was a big bright spot on the team. He was one of the better centers in the league.
After his third season in the league, Newton still doesn't look like he belongs. At times, he'll be pretty good in the run game but his pass protection has been very bad. It would be shocking if he's the starter again next season.
Free agents: Smith, Harris, Andrew Gardner (RFA)
-- Dave Zangaro