The Texans dealt with a quarterback battle that went four weeks into the season before being resolved. The Texans went 1-3 and Bill O’Brien was riding with Ryan Mallett at the time,but after the Texans went down 10-0 early to the Andrew Luck-less Colts a hard hit pushed Mallett to the sideline and he never saw the field for the Texans again. They lost that game, but their worst loss of the year came two weeks later in a drubbing by the Miami Dolphins that was 41-0 at the half. After that they entered the bye at 3-5, and if you told almost anyone that the Texans would have made the playoffs they would have called you crazy. Brian Hoyer regained composure of the team, and mainly just limited turnovers as the Texans ascended in the second half. In the way the Texans won three straight after the bye can be seen in their most impressive win, a 10-6 win on Monday Night Football in Cincinnati, a win with defense and game management. They also beat the Jets, then just took care of business in their division which propelled them to a playoff spot. They have some positives, but the problem is they have no idea what they are going to do at quarterback after a playoff debacle and that is a huge problem.
Every time you want to give Bill O’ Brien credit he makes some crazy decision that makes you question him again. I lean to the fact that he is a good coach, but maybe picky with his quarterbacks. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for him to find one, and also if he ends up drafting Christian Hackenberg at some point. Romeo Crennell did a decent job in building the defense and the continuity should be good for building a defense around Watt.
How do you go back to Brian Hoyer after what he did to you in the playoff game. To be fair, all of the team, including the head coach had a deer in the headlights look, but wow was Hoyer rough with six turnovers. The thing is at pick 22 can you really find a first year starter? Especially in a class that may not even have one first year starter. So who do they get in free agency? RG3? Kaepernick? Do they even fit? It is a mystery who the Texans quarterback will be which makes their ceiling as low as their floor.
A lot of people are predicting that Arian Foster may be cut, and it makes sense that you don’t want to invest 8 million dollars in a 30 year old back that has played in 25 games in three years. The problem is they have to know that Alfred Blue and Jonathan Grimes arent the answer. It would be assumed that they draft a running back, the question just becomes at what point?
Deandre Hopkins is firmly established as one of the top five wide receivers in the game now. You could probably make the argument he is right behind Antonio Brown, especially given his quarterback play.That said their next three players in targets were Nate Washington, Cecil Shorts and Ryan Griffin. Those three combined for 203 targets for 109 catches, 1383 yards and eight touchdowns. Hopkins turned 192 targets into 111 catches 1521 yards and 11 touchdowns. He needs someone around him is the point, because when you assume that double coverage is on Hopkins, that it should take more than three players stats to get to the top players production on the team. Jaelen Strong is a name to watch as he enters year two, but really the skill position is wide open in Houston aside from Hopkins.
The good thing about Houston is that they have seemingly had an average to well above average offensive line for a good while now. They are set at the tackle position with Duane Brown, and Derek Newton signed for the long term and while Brown is now 30 and had dealt with injury last year the last thing the Texans want to do is worry about another offensive position. Both Brandon Brooks and Ben Jones are free agents so it will be interesting to see where they value both, along with signing other potential free agents. Xavier Su’a Filo was installed as a starter in year two of his career, and you would think he can ascend from that. As long as they resign Brooks and Jones they will have no holes at one spot on offense which would be a major relief.
It is tough to argue that JJ Watt didn’t deserve to win the defensive player of the year. He can line up in any position on the field, and is a force no matter where he is. He makes scheming impossible, and he made the defensive line a problem. Jared Crick is a guy who is fits the scheme and is an impending free agent and should probably be resigned. Vince Wilfork is on the last year of his deal, and he really didn’t live up to his name last year. He had moments, but you wouldn’t think the Texans will be extending him for another year after this one. If they feel they cannot bring back Crick, the line is a big need, but with Crick you have Watt and guys who can you give you enough to succeed with.
The defensive line can succeed a lot easier with Watt when the pass rushers are basically defensive lineman too. Jadeveon Clowney, when healthy has shown his first pick ability. If he can put in more than nine games next year it would make for a relentless pass rush, because Whitney Mercilus is really one of the more valuable pass rushers in the league. He put in twelve sacks and was a nuisance and a problem around Watt who drew so much attention. On the inside Brian Cushing is a guy who is aging at this point, but you wouldn’t think the Texans are getting rid of him. They fortunately planned ahead and drafted Benardrick McKinney, who is a tank against the run, and with guys like Jon Simon and Akeem Dent as depth, the crew could be looked at as a position of strength moving forward.
The secondary, between Jonathan Joseph, rookie Kevin Johnson, and Kareem Jackson was one of the more underrated group of corners in the league. With the corner position locked up it will be interesting to see if they add at safety, or focus solely on the offense. Quintin Demps is a free agent, but a guy like Eric Weddle fits here if the Texans feel they have the cash. Andre Hal and Rahim Moore are also on the roster which doesn’t make it a must to address the safety position like that, but it is something they will have to think about.
Where do they go?
They will have to draft a quarterback at some point. With having a good defense they have the luxury to potentially reach in the first round, but if not can really reach for any fantasy position in the first round to make whatever it is they have next year around Hopkins better.