2014 Season Preview: Houston Texans

2014 Season Preview:
htn-texans-authentic
Houston Texans

Broncos vs TexansLast Season:
As my other team that I had in the Super Bowl, I don’t really see how they fell off so badly, the Falcons had some serious flaws that to be honest with you, I (and others) just missed it. The Texans have blamed the entire season on Matt Schaub, something I can kind of see- but I think it also had to do with missing Arian Foster and losing way too many close games. The Texans have never had an A+ coach, and that has hurt them, but I think it really bit them in the ass last season. Schuab becoming color blind was a major issue. How will they respond? What happens to Andre Johnson?(Question: Why didn’t they flip Andre to the Pats for Ryan Mallet and number 1 pick and maybe a few number 4s? Who says no?)
Offense
OL:
The Texans have 4 starters coming back, the only new starter is going to be second round pick Xavier Su’a-Filo at Left Guard. The weak spot is over on Right Tackle, where he didn’t have a good year by any means. The Texans have a new O-Line coach, and that’s going to deserve some watching. If the line is able to block for Foster and keep Ryan upright, then the Texans could surprise. If the zone blocking changes make it harder to gel, this could be a long year.RB:
Foster being injured, and moving from 17TDs to 1 really hurt. The Texans only managed 7 Rushing TDs as a team. Foster is only 28, so the Texans should be able to count on him for a bit longer. If he’s 100% then that’s a HUGE gain for the Texans. Ben Tate is gone- taking 4 of the 7 TDs with him, and Andre Brown comes over from the Giants to give Foster a breather. Brown is injury prone, so the Texans are taking a gamble. Alfred Blue from LSU could be a nice surprise.

Ryan FitzpatrickQB:
Ryan Fitzpatrick has been in the NFL for TEN YEARS. Did anyone think about that when they signed him? He’s been on 5 teams people, and fell apart after signing the Big Deal with the Bills. Next up is Tom Savage- a Fourth Rounder. Yup the whole league passed on him not once, not twice but THREE times before the Texans got their guy. TJ Yates is still wandering around, but he was a favorite of the old regime.

WR:Andre Johnson
This all comes down to Johnson. With him, they have one of the best in the game- someone who still pulled over a hundred catches last year. Top pick last year DeAndre Hopkins was a bit of a disappointment last year, but you really didn’t catch it, since the Texans were a dumpster fire last year by the time Hopkins fell apart. Everyone is saying the right things about him, and another QB might just be what he needs. The Texans also have Keshawn Martin and DeVier Posey as the second line, but this all comes down to keeping Johnson happy. The Texans do have 10 wideouts in camp however.
The Texans are expecting to bring out more two-tight-end sets, No Owen Daniels is going to hurt that thought. CJ Fiedorowicz is 6’5 and should see a lot of work, since he is a very good blocker. Whomever comes out on the other side either Garrett Graham or Ryan Griffith is going to try and be the pass catcher. I don’t know if the two TE set is going to work, but it could get interesting.

Defense

Defensive Line

The defense is going to get interesting under Romeo Crennel. I think Wade Phillips is one of the best in the game, and while Romeo is good, I almost think they have to have a dropoff just on the sidelines.
JJ Watt is the powerhouse on the defensive line, but he’s never been the type of player you just have stand at one spot and he locks it down, he’s best at floating around and creating havoc. I’m a big fan of Louis Nix coming into the season, and he might be starting day 1.
Jared Crick might be on the other side, but Jeoffrey Pagan is going to get a long look in camp. As long as the Texans have JJ Watt though the Defensive line is going to be just fine.

JJ WattLinebackers
The Linebackers have a similar feel to them, with Clowney as JJ Watt. Clowney is a rookie obviously, but the Texans are expecting the same thing from him. I do wonder if having a Clowney/Nix/?/Watt in a 4-3 wouldn’t be a better option. But back to the linebackers, Whitney Mercilus was a pleasant surprise last year, but he’s gonna have to learn a new role. Brian Cushing can be a star- if he can stay healthy. Brooks Reed is the final starter, but simply hasn’t been able to duplicate the success of his rookie year, and the Texans have to be getting concerned as to why. All 4 of these men were first and second round picks, by the way.

Defensive Backs
The secondary was kind of hit and miss, with Johnathan Joseph and Kerrem Jackson being very good, but don’t get the turnovers or big plays to truly be elite, Brandon Harris has been a bust, and AJ Bouye might take his job if he’s healthy. Both Safeties return, but both have flaws with Swearinger better in run support than in pass coverage and Shiloh Keo can get tired.The Secondary isn’t bad, its not great. You could do worse, you could do better. Its the type of unit you don’t mess with, unless a better option comes up.

Special Teams

The Texans have a kicker entering his second year, who is strong, but inconsistent, the punter, Shane  Lechler is very good, but turns 38 this year.
The problem is, the coverage units suck. It hurts the defense and is a pretty good reason why the defense is 7th in total defense but 24th in points allowed.

Draft:Clowney Draft

My Thoughts are here.

Outlook

I’ll be honest with you, I think this is a 10-12 win team, if there is a decent QB. If Ryan Fitzpatrick plays like he did before he got THE BIG DEAL in Buffalo, then the Texans can very easily be a top team in the AFC, if they get the play that the Bills got after . . .then they could be scrambling for a replacement, sooner rather than later. The question also becomes what becomes of Andre Johnson, If only there was a team that needed a great WR and good give up a few picks or a solid backup QB to do so. It all depends on the QB, the defense can be solid- but that special teams is going to keep them in the middle of the pack, but with games against the NFC East could get 3 wins, and games against the AFC North will only give them 1, the division should give them another 2 or 3. I can see 7 wins, maybe a few more, maybe a few less.

Second Look:

EJ: The Texans are a team that underachieved greatly last season and it cost them their quarterback, and their head coach. Now the team turns to Ryan Fitzpatrick and former Penn State University head coach Bill O’Brien. The team has also hired defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel to lead what is a loaded defense. Good news for the Texans are that they still have Arian Foster, and an Andre Johnson that might be unsettled but has a lot to play for. The Texans offense comes down to Fitzpatrick. If he can play within the offense, and not do so much then the Texans can be good. I don’t love this offense but it can do just enough.

So, I really don’t like the Texans offense. Far too many questions. That defense, however? I love it. Love it. J.J. Watt is a beast, Brian Cushing is a beast IF healthy, and Jadeveon Clowney is an athletic freak. Clowney is new to the linebacker position after playing defensive end at the University of South Carolina, but he’s 6’5″ and runs a 4.5 40 yard dash. If he can get free, and he should if defenses focus on Watt, he can rack up double digit sacks. Yup, I’m going there. If the linebackers can pressure the QB, then that secondary should be racking up some interceptions. It’s not a great defensive backfield as David alluded to, but it can be very good if the front seven does their job.

Looking at this schedule, I think the Texans can be what the Chiefs were the year before. Basically, they can go from having the first pick in the Draft to a playoff team. Playing the NFC East isn’t nearly as much a challenge it was a few seasons ago, and the same goes for the AFC North. Now, I don’t expect the Texans to beat the Colts for the division title, but I can see this team winning 10 games as long as Foster stays healthy, and Fitzpatrick doesn’t try to do too much.

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About David Snipes 1382 Articles
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1 Comment

  1. I don’t think Brown is much of a gamble since he’ll be backing up Foster. If Foster misses some games, Brown can step in and fill in nicely.

    I think they’ll be better (it’s hard not to) but I can’t see much better than 7-9 or 8-8 since Fitzpatrick has proven he’s a horrible decision maker, as evident by his 51 INT’s the last 3 seasons. I don’t think Fitzpatrick has it in him not to do too much. He’s an okay QB, but on a good team he’d be ideally suited to being a backup.

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