Season Previews: Houston Texans



Last Season Review
Last year the Texans looked like the team to beat, Manning was out of the way, finally, and they were off and running at 11-1, riding a 6 game winning streak, with the Pats and the number 1 seed in the AFC and respectability waiting.
A 42-14 beatdown came and sent the Texans spiraling to a 1-3 finish, a lackluster win over the Bengals in the playoffs, then a quick booting to the offseason by the Pats (41-28), in a game that wasn’t that close.


We know most of these guys suck but us, right?
We know most of these guys suck but us, right?

Schaub is just good enough to make you not want to replace him, but bad enough where you are not going to give them an edge in QBing in almost any playoff matchups, plenty of worse QBs have won championships, but plenty of better QBs have retired without titles too. Lets keep in mind that Schaub did throw for 4K and 22 TDs last year.
Almost a 40% of those targets went to Andre Johnson, who while piling up yardage, only got 4 TDs for his fans, despite being the target of almost 60% of the throws. That was tops in the NFL. Johnson’s tag-team partner, Kevin Walters was cut, to be replaced by number 1 draft pick DeAndre Hopkins, who almost HAS to match Walters low production (518/2)  and become a weapon as Andre ages (he’s Thirty-Two for you fantasy people) The scariest weapon on the roster to me is Owen Daniels, a classic TE going 6’3, 250 for over 700 yards and 6 TDs, with a better gameplan, Daniels is an easy 1K and 10TD guy. Owen is 31 though, so the Texans are bringing along Garrett Graham (28/3) who is almost a carbon copy of Daniels.
The Star of the Texans offense is, of course, Foster, who lead the NFL with 17 TDs, and had almost 400 touches. The Texans are going to have a serious problem going forward if Ben Tate doesn’t get off the injury list and have more years like 2011. He didn’t do a third of his production last year.
The Texas have a rock solid leftside of the line, with the LT (Duane Brown) LG (Wade Smith) and Center Chris Myers all making the Pro Bowl. The Problem is the right side, with instability at Guard with a pair of rookies and RT Derek Newton going down to injury to finish off a disappointing year. Third round pick Brennan Williams (from UNC) is going to have all the chances he wants in camp to take the job.
The Texans were 7th overall in offense, and 8th in scoring, solid second tier marks.

DefenseTexans Defense
JJ Watt
JJ Watt
JJ Watt
What hasn’t been said about this beast of a player, cracking 20.5 sacks and almost as many magazine covers. Add in Antonio Smith, who added 7 sacks and prevented constant double teaming, then Earl Mitchell comes into camp as the starter, having replaced Shaun Cody last year.
Brian Cushing leads the second level, and the Texans were 5-0 before he went down to injury. Both Inside linebackers plus the top backup ended the season in street clothes. The outside linebackers are in flux, with Conner Baldwin gone. Whitney Marcilus should start, but he stinks in coverage.
Starter Glover Quin is gone, and Ed Reed was supposed to be the guy to lead them in the secondary, but he’s already hurt, and who knows how much time he’s gonna play. Manning takes the other side, and he’s going to get a lot of hits in run support. Johnathan Joseph is a solid corner, one of the best in the NFL, but Kareem Johnson has to prove he can do it again for a whole year.
I love Wade Phillips as a coach, as long as he’s not the top guy on the letterhead. The Texans dropped from 2nd to 7th overall, but considering they lost Super Mario and were almost pulling guys out of the stands to play Linebacker, its not surprising.

Special Teams
The Texans have new Kicker and Punter this season, no thats not a copy/paste from last year, and oddly enough they let the guy that set records last night go to take talent away from the Raiders. Let that sink in for a moment. The kicker is a draft pick from last year coming off IR. Worst part? The Texans were 23rd in kickoff returns- IN A DOME.

I do like the draft, Hopkins(1) is going to start, Swearinger is going to be ductaped to Ed Reed, and take his snaps when he can. If Brennan Williams is dirty at the end of each day, we got problems. The other 3rd rounder Sam Montgomery can also see the field a ton. Past that? Watch 6th rounder Quessenberry, who could be no1 backup later this year.
You Can Also Read my Full Breakdown Here

OutlookTexans Cheerleader
This is a tough one. I don’t like Schaub, I think they are in trouble if Foster breaks down, and 390 totes is a bit much on mostly carpet. I’m also looking at the RT spot as worrisome, even though I like Williams. Can JJ Watt do it again? He got almost half of the entire teams sacks, but if Cushing and the rest of the Linebackers can stay out of street clothes, I can see a top 5 Defense pretty easily. My Prediction?
AFC Title Game, AFC South Champions 12-4

EJ with the 2nd Opinion

I like Matt Schaub. I really do, but you wonder when is he finally going to take that next step from statistical wonder to a QB that will actually lead the Texans past the 2nd round. Anyway, as long as Andre Johnson is healthy, and DeAndre Hopkins (a kid I really like coming out of Clemson) can produce as the #2 receiver than once again Schaub will have his stats. Arian Foster is the true star of the Houston Texans offense and as long as he and Ben Tate are healthy, the Texans will have no problem scoring points.

Defense? That is the question. JJ Watt is a beast, but I am doubtful he’s going to replicate last season. Brian Cushing will be big if healthy but I’m worried that Ed Reed is already injured. DJ Swearinger out of South Carolina is going to have to be big early to cover any time that Ed will miss. Wade Phillips is a fine defensive coordinator but I expect the Texans defense to fall off a bit. They’ll become a team that will count on their offense to lead them to wins, while the defense tries to hold the line.

Overall? The Texans will win the AFC South by default. Why? The Jaguars are a joke, the Titans aren’t great and odds are Andrew Luck and the Colts won’t repeat what they did last season. I’m not sold on the Texans but I’m going to take the leap of faith and put them in the AFC title game. Why? The Broncos are the only team in the AFC that I’m really high on. I’m just not convinced that the Pats, Steelers, Ravens and etc… are going to be better than this Texans team. So, it’s 11-5 for the Texans and they finally make it to an AFC Title Game.

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1 Comment

  1. This is the year for the Texans to make their push for a deep playoff run. New England lost Welker, Gronk has a wonky back and Hernandez is looking at prison time. Baltimore lost some key players that had been there forever. Denver is loaded, but that’s probably Houston’s opponent if they make the AFC title game.

    If they don’t make the AFC title game (at least) they should fire Kubiak & think about trading Schaub.

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