After a 9-7 regular season, you’d have to think the Houston Texans are maybe one or two key players away from being a playoff contender. Unfortunately, the folks over at Pro Football Focus do not agree. In fact, they believe it will take an additional eight key players before the Texan’s become Super Bowl worthy.
And based off their information, the Texans ranked 15th in the NFL needing a total of eight more key players. One of those certainly being at the quarterback position.
"“The Texans don’t have a quarterback of the future and might not have one for the present, either. Injuries to Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallett and Tom Savage left them to finish the season with the previously released Case Keenum as their starter. Fitzpatrick and Savage are under contract for 2015, Fitzpatrick for an alluring $3.25 million, but the Texans will have to upgrade the position somehow — via free agency, the draft or both — this offseason. “"
The article also mentioned big needs for both an additional pass rusher and wide recevier. Outside of J.J. Watt, the Texans’ defensive line was only able to generate a pathetic seven sacks and 11 quarterback knockdowns in 2014.
And 33-year old recevier Andre Johnson is certainly on the down slope of his career, recording his lowest reception and yards total since 2011.
But a potential bigger issue could be Houston’s defensive secondary. In fact, the Texans have some real big decisions to make when it comes to their defensive backfield.
Safety D.J. Swearinger was listed as one of the worst players at his position last season, ranking 79th out of just 88 qualifiers. While safeties Danieal Manning and Kendrick Lewis and cornerback Kareem Jackson are all free agents.
Also mentioned was the Texans’ offensive line, and the need for better guard play. But the truth is, a lot of Houston’s problems come from not having their franchise quarterback in place. I may be wrong, but I truly don’t believe Fitzpatrick, Mallett, Savage or Keenum will be the answer.
Until they have that key piece behind center, I think the Texans’ will always be on the fringe of greatness.
That is unless that can build a defensive empire like the current Seattle Seahawks have. Or defensive dynasties like the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the 2000 Baltimore Ravens or the 1985 Chicago Bears. All of whom won the Super Bowl without strong quarterback play.
But in order to do that, the Texans are going to need to surround Watt with better players on their defense. And according there PFF, somewhere in the ballpark of eight key players would work.
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