Card: Upper Deck Star Rookie 2008
Acquired: Texans Blitz 2010
A dominant linebacker at Virginia Tech over his tenure there from 2004- 2008, Xavier Adibi was drafted in the 4th round of the 2008 by the Houston Texans. Adibi was named to the the All-ACC team in 2006 and 2007. In the latter year he was also named All-American for his efforts. A hitting machine with good speed in coverage and instincts, the knock on Adibi is his read and reaction time to offensive game plans. Xavier has been hampered by nicks and tears since he was drafted, playing in only 7 games in 2008, making 35 tackles (27 solo) . He’d sit on the bench for the majority of 2009, but in 2010 he’d play in 11 games making 22 tackles and 2 forced fumbles as the Texans were forced to shuffle around linebackers when injuries decimated the middle three. Things finally started to look better as Adibi in the final contest of 2010 against Jacksonville stepped in and make 5 tackles and 3 assists.
Truly Xavier has become an ‘X-Factor”, with the Texans shift to a 3-4 alignment under new defensive coach Wade Phillips, it is unknown where he figures into the team’s future plans. With Adibi’s size, frame, and familiarity to the 3-4 defense from VT, it could be possible that he slips back into an inside linebacker role.
UPDATE 12/6/2011- Xavier would be among the final cuts of the Houston Texans in 2011. He’d be claimed off of waivers by the Minnesota Vikings.
Card: Upper Deck Star Rookies 2009
Acquired: TTM 2009, Texans Blitz
The Texans collect tight ends like they are going out of style. Anthony Hill is a devastating blocker out of NC State taken in the 4th round of the 2009 draft by the Houston Texans. He earned 2nd team ACC honors his senior season and at 6’6″, 277 make him a Antonio Gates sized target. Unfortunately Hill caught Swine Flu his rookie season and although he has recovered, has not seen any extensive playing time outside of the preseason for the Texans since being drafted. He also needs to improve his speed off the snap and improve on his durability to warrant more play time by the team. Anthony is also buried on the depth chart behind Owen Daniels, Joel Dreessen, James Casey, and Garrett Graham.
Card: Upper Deck Rookie Debut 2006
Acquired: Texans Blitz 2009
Bernard Pollard was originally drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the second round of the 2006 draft. A straight inline safety and incredible hitter, Pollard was nicknamed “Bonecrusher” by his teammates at Purdue. The name would follow him to the pros where he’d be involved in ending the seasons of two different New England Patriots. With a brutal blow he’d end Tom Brady’s season in 2008 as a member of the Chiefs, and in 2009 Bernard, playing for the Texans, would be pursuing Wes Welker, when a freak injury would strike Welker sidelining him for 9 months. Although not responsible for the injury, Pollard would still be viewed by many Patriots’ faithful as the culprit. Pollard is a special teams beast- blocking 3 punts in one season with the Chiefs, and 1 for the Texans in 2010. He was also the leading tackler for the Chiefs in 2008.
Strangely in 2009 he’d be cut by the Chiefs without explanation, but the Texans – a team in desperate need for defensive help in the secondary claimed him off of waivers. He’d be reunited with his secondary coach David Gibbs and be immediately inserted at the starting strong safety position. Bernard would help turn the Texans around defensively where in 13 games he’d get 102 tackles, 4 interceptions and 2 defensive touchdowns. 2010 would see a reversal of fortune for the defense, and although Pollard would establish himself as a vocal team leader, the secondary would collapse and Gibbs and defensive coordinator Frank Bush would be fired. With the addition of new coordinator Wade Phillips and the conversion to the 3-4 defense upcoming Bonecrusher’s future in Houston became extremely cloudy.
Bernard is what is referred to as a ‘straight in-line’ or ‘box’ safety, much in the vein of Roy Williams of Dallas/Cincinnati. Pollard is an exceptional run defender, (something that I love,) but needs help in the secondary when playing the pass. With the demands of the game changing for secondary, and especially at safety, hip fluidity and the ability to turn and cut is now at a premium for the position with offensive passing games in high gear. I do like Bernard a lot and I hoped he would be able to stick around with the team, but the Texans did not tender him in for the 2011 season, and allowed him to test the free agent waters. He currently plays for the Baltimore Ravens.
Here is a highlight video of Pollard from 2009: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYgl5NnpdAs
G/Gs 76/59 Tac 326 Sac 5 Fum 7 Int 7 Yds 144 Avg 20.5 Td 1