Time to improve is now for Texans

HOUSTON -- Here are five observations on the Houston Texans, based on their combined practices here with the Denver Broncos Aug. 10-11:

1. Coach Dom Capers feels that this fourth edition of the Texans, an expansion team in 2002, features the most talented roster the franchise has had, and the team is better than his Carolina Panthers expansion team was in its fourth campaign.

Well, frankly, it should be and it had better be. In their fourth season, the Panthers were 4-12 and Capers was dismissed following a season that was almost as chaotic off the field as on it. The Texans don't have the kind of volatile off-field situations that rocked the Panthers in 1998, and credit Capers, owner Bob McNair and hard-working general manager Charley Casserly for assembling one of the NFL's most stable situations and an undeniably positive working environment. But it's time, in year four, to start building something of a little more substance on that solid foundation.