Texans hope Ed Reed ready to lead

How much can the Houston Texans count on Ed Reed?

The nine-time Pro Bowl safety is supposed to be the missing piece to help lift the Texans over the proverbial hump. But Reed was literally a missing piece during offseason minicamp while he came off surgery to repair a slight tear of his hip labrum.

The Texans, who had identified a safety and a complementary receiver to Andre Johnson as their biggest offseason priorities, can only hope Reed is 100% recovered for the start of the 2013 season.

"We'll get him healthy, and he'll be fine," coach Gary Kubiak said.

Reed said that once training camp arrives, "I'll have a better bead on it, as far as my progress."

No one really knows if Reed, who will turn 35 on Sept. 11, will stay healthy.

There is a reason the Baltimore Ravens were willing to let him move on, after all.

Reed signed a three-year, $15million deal to replace free agent departure Glover Quin. Second-round draft pick D.J. Swearinger will get the bulk of offseason reps until Reed returns.

"We're right there as a team," Kubiak said.

Can Reed help get the Texans over the championship hurdle? Houston lost twice to the New England Patriots within a five-week span last season, including a divisional playoff elimination. The question is, do the Texans really stack up among the NFL's elite?

Sure, they finished 12-4 and won the AFC South for the second consecutive season. But they got no further than in 2011, when they won their first playoff game in franchise history only to be bounced by the Ravens.

Everything appears in place after another seemingly strong draft. So the 2013 Texans could go as far as Reed and quarterback Matt Schaub can take them. The return to health of defensive captain Brian Cushing and the addition of rookie No. 2 wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins also could help get them where they hope to go.

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