I often get asked what are the best sites to get Texans information. There are a number of web sites I use in show prep that have good information and commentary on the team. Some are good for straight news, while others offer commentary/insight. These are also free sites (or have limited pay services but enough free on the Texans to be worthwhile). Some are not pure Texans, but often write about the team and offer good insight when they do.
Disclaimer: These are the sites I use to keep up with the team. It's not meant to be all-inclusive. If there's a good one out there you don't see, let me know and I will check it out. If it's good, it will be added to the list. I did not include fan forum type pages because they are a) a different animal and b) most of these sites have them as part of their coverage.
THE TRADITIONAL SOURCES
1) Houston Chronicle's "Ultimate Texans" (http://blog.chron.com/ultimatetexans/).
Why it's useful: While "ultimate Texans" is a little presumptive and somewhat inaccurate, the site is very solid on news. John McClain remains one of the best reporters in the business, backed by solid feature writers in Dale Robertson and Brian Smith. The commentary unfortunately is part of the new "premium" site, and quality work from McClain, Jerome Solomon, et al will get you the dreaded "To continue reading this story, you will need to be a digital subscriber to HoustonChronicle.com" message. That leaves most of the free commentary to fan blogger Stephanie Stradley, who does a terrific job with fan-oriented topics. There is often really good statistical analysis as well. The only real negative is the posts could be significantly shorter without losing information; it can be laborious to sift through sometimes, but there's good stuff there and it's well worth the effort.
Negatives: As much as I love the Chronicle columnists, I am not paying for something I used to get for free, especially when there are other options out there. You can also get Solomon and McClain's analysis on free radio. The site itself could be designed better as well (you have to work to find Stradley's blog; for the record it's under the "voices" tab). And as an "ultimate" site, you'd like to see an aggregation of links to other content, such as ESPN or Houstontexans.com. Overall, however, for sheer volume and information, it's still the best available. They do a good job of throwing resources at what is the biggest sports story in Houston by far.
2) ESPN Nation blog (http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation).
Why it's useful: ESPN has finally gone to individual coverage of each NFL team, with former Chronicle writer Tania Ganguli handling the Texans. Until this year ESPN relied on one blogger per division, and while Paul Kuharsky did a solid job, it's impossible to cover a team with any detail being based in Nashville. The result was a Titan-heavy blog. Now the Texans have someone covering their team every day. ESPN is fairly formatted, so you won't get a lot of good commentary, but there are better places for that. For news and frequency of updates, it should be pretty solid.
Negatives: It's often hard to find this info, even on ESPN's NFL page. This is probably the best free service the site offers (for all NFL teams) and deserves better display.
3) Houstontexans.com (houstontexans.com)
Type: News, features.
Why it's useful: They do a solid job of covering the team from the inside, with good information and features. The daily quotes from all press conferences are fun to sift through to see what is on the minds of Texans players and coaches.
The negatives: They will always be a step behind the Chronicle and ESPN on news because they are a team-run site. The same issue makes independent commentary impossible. Because everyone works for the team, you won't see any critical analysis. If you are pure fan and don't want to hear a negative thing about your team, this is your site. And that's what it is supposed to be.
4) State of the Texans (http://www.stateofthetexans.com/)
Type: News, features, commentary.
Why it's useful: It has good quality, is updated often and provides independent analysis.
The negatives: Not many. Doesn't have the resources of the big three but does a nice job with what they have.
5) Battle Red Blog (http://www.battleredblog.com/).
Type: News, features, commentary.
Why it's useful: It is updated on a regular basis, and unlike the other sites can provide more analysis and commentary. It's often good stuff and it's independent of the team.
The negatives: They simply don't have the resources to throw out there that the other three have.
THE LESS OBVIOUS
The Houston Press (http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs/) They blog on a lot of subjects, but hit the Texans hard and Jeff Balke and Sean Pendergast offer really good insight. You can scratch your commentary itch here.
Houston Media Watch (http://sheltonmedia.blogspot.com/) They are more of a media watchdog site, but will occasionally hit on Texans topics. They take the gloves off and go hard. The writing can be a little rough at times, but you will get a different perspective.
Twitter. Most of the people mentioned above have twitter accounts. @houstontexans is the official team account. @Houston_Texans_ in an unofficial fan site. John McClain @McClain_on_NFL and Stephanie Stradley @stephstradley are the most prolific tweeters on chron.com, although you should also follow @jeromesolomon and @randyharvey for their thoughts as well. ESPN's @taniaganguli tweets frequently as well. @HoustonDiehards is a good twitter follow. The site would have made the list but it has been inactive since April.
Other good ones:
John Harris (@jharrisfootball), Sean Pendergast (@seancablinasian), Matt Jackson (@mj4sports), Adam Wexler (awexler), Lance Zierlein (@lancezierlein), Seth Payne (@paynenfl), Greg Koch (@gregkoch1) Craig Shelton (@craigsheltonhmw) Lamont Mann (@sportsmedialm), Richard Walker @hmwbigwalker John Lopez (@lopezonsports), Marc Vandermeer (@Texansvoice) and Rivers McCown (@fo_riversmccown) are all people I follow who are well-rounded sports folks but often have good Texans insight, especially during games.
For pure breaking news, Mark Berman (@markbermanfox26) is as good as they come. For fantasy and Texans, check out @erinskelley.
For some solid sports follows in general, my cohorts Dave Tepper @davejtepper A.J. Hoffman @ajisthereal and Jong Lee @koreanjongbie
Twitter genius @Rottweiler2000 points out I forgot State of the Texans (@SOTTexans) which has been added above. Will add to the list as people suggest them here. Other additions: @delv2 @mannifresh25
There are lots of other good ones, but again, these are the ones I enjoy following especially on game day. I'm always open to more suggestions and will keep this list fluid. Again, I did not really include fan groups. These are media professionals or aspiring media pros. Keep in mind that twitter is instant reaction without the benefit of a step-back perspective, but that's kind of what our world has become.
National sites: Football Outsiders (footballoutsiders.com) is terrific. Excellent statistical analysis on the NFL and you can gleam great information on the Texans. Pro Football Focus (profootballfocus.com) is primarily a pay site but has good free info. Thesidelineview.com is Zierlein's site that also features quality stuff from John Harris and others.
That should give you more than enough to sift through during the season. And of course, we'll be recapping every game right here with a critical eye as well as throwing in the occasional midweek commentary. We'll also give some betting angles on Fridays and recap college football every week. (The brief writing respite is officially over).
Tomorrow: College, NFL and CFL plays for the weekend, plus other games of interest.