Dec 21, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) before a game against the Baltimore Ravens at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
3. DeAndre Hopkins rise.
With the inevitable reality of age and time baring down on the Texans longest tenured and most storied receiver, Andre Johnson the Texans search for who to pass the torch to has been answered by DeAndre Hopkins. This second year receiver continues the excellence and quite strength of the great Andre Johnson. It’s obvious the influence but Hopkins is not so much a clone of Johnson as he’s more a new version of something every team desires. A strong, fast, confident receiver whose professionalism and demeanor follows him on and off the field. There is no drama with Hopkins, he’s driven and focused on not replacing Johnson but being the best receiver he can be. The Texans are blessed to have such a good man on their roster and we can’t wait to see what he does next year.
4. Special Teams
For years, the Texans have had a lack luster special teams unit. Fans would cringe on kick off, kick off return, punts and field goals. We watched good return players squandered by the ineptitude of the former special teams system. While 2014 was not without a few missteps what we saw was amazingly better then the previous seasons. Shane Lechler’s punts were so consistently good that it you might think “I can do that” and go outside to try your… foot at it. Only to come back in shaking your head in awe. Randy Bullock whose career started off, well it was a disaster. 26 of 35 FG made for a measely 74.3 completion rate including a 1-5 on 50+ yard kicks was not getting the job done. This season? 30 out of 35 for an 85.7% rating and 4-5 from 50+ yards. The turn around, the confidence he has is attributable to the coaching staff and his own drive.
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5. The return of Case Keenum
Sentimental good, yeah. The young UofH product who went undrafted, went 0-8 last season playing for a bad team and cut before the season started got his chance to win one more time. Getting the call while in a deer stand because the practice squad quarterback of the Rams doesn’t have a lot to do on game day Keenum came in and got the wins to keep the Texans slim play off hopes alive. He might be 2-8 as a quarterback, heck he may never play for the Texans again but at least he got to stand in front of the home crowd as winner. He deserves another look, and I think he earned it.
Tomorrow we’ll kick of the New Year with a look at where the Texans go from here and what to expect from them as we start the annual draft guessing game. Happy New Years torotimes and Texans fans!
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