As we sit here and wait through these summer months for the start of the 2014 NFL season, the Houston Texans have a lot of work ahead of them if they want to get out of the basement of the NFL standings.
With their NFL-worst 2014 finish came lots of change.
There is a new head coach in town in Bill O’Brien, meaning a new offense scheme and a new look on the defensive side of the ball as well with Romeo Crennel running the show on that side of the ball.
The Texans let go of a few veterans that just weren’t up to par or the standards set by the franchise this offseason, they drafted Jadeveon Clowney with the No. 1 overall pick, and in my view, I believe they had one of the better drafts in the NFL.
They still don’t have the greatest roster of QBs, but many fans did want Matt Schaub out of the picture, so now there needs to be patience in finding the right guy to play under center for this team.
And that’s where we are now … I believe the defense will be very much improved, so they will be fine, but this offense, especially at quarterback, can make a person worry.
For the QBs on the roster, three of them have starting time … one has eight starts and no wins, another has two starts in the playoffs (one win) and one grows a very thick beard and can be described as a journeyman QB in the league.
Dec 1, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Case Keenum (7) spikes the ball after rushing for a touchdown during the third quarter against the New England Patriots at Reliant Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Texans 34-31. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
I like Case Keenum‘s potential, but I also believe he does have a ceiling. Before I have a final judgment on him, I’d like to see how he progresses while working with O’Brien for a season.
Keenum didn’t have a win last season in eight starts, which was partly his own doing, but he was playing with a running back that had four broken ribs, a change in head coaches in the final month and an offensive line that allowed him to be sacked over 20 times … all while learning to play the toughest spot on the football field.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is a journeyman QB, but I believe at least for this season, he can be the “band-aid” the Texans need at QB to be mixed with all the younger QBs on this roster.
T.J. Yates is a backup QB with a playoff win under his belt. Nothing more, nothing less. He’s a valuable backup but didn’t see the field much from beyond the sideline last season.
Then there is the wildcard in rookie Tom Savage. What he will become may depend on how well the Texans do this year or even in 2015. Savage was a fourth-round selection this draft, but how good he can really be is a true unknown.
The return of Arian Foster is huge for this offense, but his health and taking the hits that he’ll take at the running back spot make me wonder if letting Ben Tate walk to the Cleveland Browns was the right move.
Drafting Alfred Blue was a smart move by Houston, but he doesn’t have any NFL experience. Andre Brown is a nice RB to have on the roster, but he also has injury issues, and if he is asked (or needed) to carry the entire load at RB, that is questionable.
Bear Goggles On
The offensive line will be better with Xavier Su’a-Filo at guard, and I am very interested in seeing how the tight end corp of Ryan Griffin, Garrett Graham and rookie C.J. Fiedorowicz all gel as a unit.
If they can build a TE duo like the New England Patriots did, that could be a fun group to watch progress throughout the season.
Now at WR … oh, Andre Johnson, why do you have to care and be so frustrated?
Just kidding, after the product the Texans put on the field last season and in many of his seasons in Houston, I’d be frustrated, but he is the one who has chosen to stay with the Texans for over a decade.
Should he be at OTAs with the rest of his teammates? Yes. Will he be? No. I get it, but I just don’t agree with it.
If the Texans lose their top playmaker this offseason, well, they still have DeAndre Hopkins on the roster, a player who must step up more this upcoming season if they want to see improvement in the offense.
As great as Johnson is, he’s been in the league for over a decade, and the progression of Hopkins is more important for the Texans’ future than the entire situation of Johnson and his frustration.
I may be wrong, but Hopkins needs to take the next step in the progression of his NFL career, with or without Johnson playing opposite of him.
So do I believe the Texans’ offense is improved? In spots, but they still have a lot of revamping to do with this unit to make it one of the better offenses in the NFL. Now it will be interesting to see how all of this turns out.