The 2011 season was the most exciting ever in Houston Texans franchise history.

Fresh off its first double-digit win campaign, playoff appearance and playoff win, Houston heads into a season of great expectations. National media have listed the Texans as a preseason top five team. A few writers are even talking Super Bowl.

The Divisional Champions lost a lot of key players who have moved on to other teams, including LB Mario Williams(Buffalo Bills), DeMeco Ryans(Philadelphia Eagles), Jacoby Jones(Baltimore Ravens), just to name a few.

Here is a look at the potential impact of first-year players as we begin our season-long analysis of the race for Rookie of the Year.

Robert Griffin III-QB Washington Redskins: The Heisman Trophy winner enters the nation’s capital with lofty expectations. He even won his first-preseason game last week against the Buffalo Bills. With a big arm and running ability, Griffin should get off to a good start in Mike Shanahan’s offense.

Andrew Luck-QB Indianapolis Colts: Luck made it look easy in his preseason opening win over the weekend. He will look to be the third consecutive No. 1 pick and quarterback to win the top rookie honors. He is certainly ready to take over an NFL team, and there shouldn’t be much of a learning curve. Both Luck and Griffin will be monitored closely throughout their careers, and the comparison begins with the race for Rookie of the Year.

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Eight new head coaches will be on center stage during the 2012 National Football League season and it will be interesting to see how many of them will actually turn their teams around immediately.

Four of the eight newcomers have been NFL head coaches previously, counting Joe Vitt on an interim basis in St. Louis in place of Mike Martz in 2005. But four others are unproven commodities about to set said on their voyage as head coaches in the pro ranks.

Here’s a look at the eight coaches ready to take center stage. They are listed as follows:

Dennis Allen-Oakland Raiders: The 39-year old Allen spent one season as a defensive coordinator with the Denver Broncos. He is the youngest head coach in the NFL; however, he is a branch on the coaching trees of Dan Reeves, Wade Phillips, Gregg Williams and John Fox, all defensive-minded coaches who preached an aggressive style. He will try to bring that to the Raiders and improve a unit that ranked 29th in both yards and points allowed last season.

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*For the fourth time in their 10 seasons, the Texans have won the Pete Rozelle Award for having the NFL’s most outstanding media relations department. The Rozelle Award is presented annually by the Pro Football Writers of America. The Texans were voted the best for the 2011 season. They’ve won the Rozelle Award more than any team in the league.

Members of the award-winning staff are senior director of communications Kevin Cooper, communications manager Evan Koch, corporate communications manager, Zac Emmons, communications coordinator Charles Hampton, and inter Brett Naikowski.

*The Pittsburgh Steelers and head coach Mike Tomlin agreed on a contract-extension that will keep him on the sideline through at least 2016. Financial terms were not disclosed. Tomlin is 55-25 with the Steelers, winning three AFC North titles, two AFC championships and the 2009 Super Bowl.

*Jacksonville Jaguars draft pick WR Justin Blackmon avoided jail time, leading guilty to drunken driving. Blackmon was fined $500 and ordered to complete 50 hours of community service.

*Former Raiders and Oilers quarterback Ken Stabler is the lastest big name from the NFL’s past to sue the league over head injuries. Stabler is the first plaintiff among 73 listed in a federal lawsuit filed in Philadelphia.

Like the other lawsuits, the complaint accuses the NFL of failing to act on a large body of medical evidence showing that repeated hits to the head can cause health problems in the long term.

*Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick had decided to dedicate the 2012 NFL season to Garrett Reid, the son of Eagles head coach Andy Reid who was found dead last week.

*The Houston Texans will take on the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday, August 18th at 7:00 p.m. at Reliant Stadium.

*The Green Bay Packers have signed former University of Texas and Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson to their team.

*The Houston Texans captured their first win of the 2012 preseason with a 26-13 victory over Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, North Carolina. Former LSU KR Trindon Holiday returned a kick 90-yards for a touchdown. The defense had eight sacks, including seven by the linebackers.

*NFL wide receiver Chad Johnson was arrested on a domestic violence charge over the weekend, after being accused of head-butting his newlywed wife during an argument in front of their home in Davie, Florida. Police stated that Johnson and his wife were at dinner when she confronted him about a receipt she found for a box of condoms. Because of his actions Johnson was released by the Miami Dolphins, making him jobless and a network canceled his reality t.v. show that he was scheduled with his wife.

*The Houston Texans have announced their 2012 Home game themes, which will start with the two home preseason games. On Saturday, August 18th the theme will be “State of Football” when they face Frank Gore, Randy Moss, Vernon Davis and the San Francisco 49ers.

On Thursday, August 30th the theme will be “Texans Care” presented by Fox Sports Southwest when the Texans take on Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings.

v33_Yolande and LondonCommentary: The 2012 London Olympics is Gabby Douglas time to shine!

Gabby Douglas, at just the young-age of 16, became the first African American and the third straight American to win the all-around title giving her the first Gold Medal won by an American female gymnast in several years.

Douglas couldn’t believe her coach until she saw the scoreboard. And when she did, she was speechless.

“I wanted to seize the moment,” Douglas said. “It hasn’t sunk in yet and team finals haven’t sunk in yet. But I know it will.”

Douglas, who was in the lead from the first event, finished the night with an electric floor routine, flashing a dazzling smile and lots of pizzazz. When her score posted 62.232, coach Liang Chow told her that she had won the gold medal.

However, she had to wait another five minutes until it was official because Viktoria Komova of Russia, runner-up at last year’s world championships , was still to come.

v33_SonyaRichardsRossSanya Richards-Ross, the former University of Texas Longhorns track star from Jamaica, is now a U.S. Olympian after capturing the gold medal in the women’s 400 meters at Olympic Stadium in London, England.

Amid a series of freakish injuries in 2010, and a third place finish at the Beijing Games, Richards-Ross put that past behind her. At last year’s world championships , she finished seventh. Disappointment, tears and a bronze medal are all in the past. For on this trip to the Olympics, she closed the deal.

Four years later, Sanya Richards-Ross won the 400-meter gold that she had always thought she would. Despite nearly banging elbows with runners on both sides of her- and with the defending champion making up ground on the outside, Richards-Ross was stronger, this time over the last 100 meters.

“I just kept saying, “You can do this, you can do this,” Richards-Ross said. “I just dug really deep and I’m very happy with the outcome. This is something that I dreamed of for a very long time.”


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