The Associated Press
HOUSTON (AP)-The Houston Texans are the only team in the NFL to have never reached the playoffs.
That gives them a clear goal as they prepare for the start of training camp on Friday.
The Texans went 8-8 in each of the last two seasons and are hoping their eighth season is the one where they finally make the postseason.
"Our goalas a team is to be a playoff football team," coach Gary Kubiak said. "That goal can't be reached until December … but we'll walk on that field (Friday) with that as a team goal."
Kubiak, who is entering his fourth season in Houston, knows his team has a lot of work to do before they can make that happen.
"We have to be realistic in our approach and realize that it's about the day-to-day process," he said. "Can't get that done in one day or one week or one month. So we've got to worry about our football team getting better and if we do that, then we'll give ourselves an opportunity to do that."
Last season's third-ranked offense remains intact and the Texans are expecting improvement from the unit thanks to the development of Steve Slaton, who led all rookies with 1,282 yards rushing last season.
Matt Schaub looks to play a full season after missing five games in each of his first two years in Houston and Andre Johnson returns after leading the NFL with a career-high 1,575 yards receiving.
"Everyone is healthy and everyone's on top of their game and it just spells good things for us," Schaub said. "If we can play consistently, take care of the football and be better in the red zone, we can put up some big numbers and points. Hopefully, that accumulates to a lot of wins."
One issue on offense is the possibility that tight end Owen Daniels, who had 70 receptions for 862 yards last season, could skip camp because he's unhappy with his contract status. He signed his restricted free agent tender in June but sat out the mandatory minicamp because a long-term deal wasn't reached.
Kubiak said he expects him to be at camp but wouldn't say if Daniels had told him he'd be there.
"He's a big part of our offense and what we do," Schaub said. "So we're hoping that he'll be out there with us."
Houston also has a trio of players on defense who could miss time in camp due to contract situations. Rookies Brian Cushing and Connor Barwin have yet to sign their contracts and cornerback Dunta Robinson remains disgruntled that the Texans used the franchise tag on him.
Robinson has threatened to sit out all of training camp, which would leave a big hole in Houston's secondary. He did not participate in any offseason activities with the team.
"Obviously it's a concern," Kubiak said referring to Robinson and Daniels. "Dunta's situation, all indications are to me that he probably won't (report). Until he's under contract and here with this football team it's very difficult to comment one way or the other."
Cushing, a first-round pick, is expected to start at linebacker and Barwin, chosen in the second-round, could prove to be a key backup at defensive end.
There is some news on defense with the Texans adding end Antonio Smith in the offseason to play opposite 2006 first overall pick Mario Williams. Williams had 12 sacks last season and made his first Pro Bowl.
The Texans are hoping that playing opposite another legitimate pass rusher will make Williams better in 2009.
The group is working under new defensive coordinator Frank Bush after Richard Smith was fired just after last season when Houston's defense remained one of the league's worst.