Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien was at the NFL owner’s meeting in Arizona last week and took time out on a couple of occasions to speak about the state of the franchise. One thing that the coach spoke about was different areas he believed the team needs to show improvement in 2015.
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The first area of concern for O’Brien was special teams. This should come as no shock to anyone who watched the team return punts or kickoffs in 2014. They ranked 31st (out of 32 teams) in punt return yardage and 29th in kickoff returns.
Their coverage was almost as bad as they landed 31st in punt coverage and 25th in kickoff coverage. A team struggling this much to win the field position battle will often put both offensive and defensive players at a huge disadvantage.
"“We’ve gotta get better on special teams,” O’Brien said via Drew Dougherty of HoustonTexans.com.. “We’re looking for, whether it’s in the draft or the rest of whatever’s left of free agency, can we find some guys? Maybe it’s a returner. Maybe it’s a guy that can cover kicks.”"
After going 9-7 last year and missing the post season, it seems like perhaps they could have made that final push had there been more production from the special teams. O’Brien understands that and is making sure the team knows he expects better results this season.
The second area was offensive line depth, which has been magnified by the release of veteran center Chris Myers earlier this offseason. While the team took guard Xavier Su’a-Filo out of UCLA with the 33rd overall pick in 2014, there is still plenty of room for a draft pick, or maybe even two this season.
One player in particular I believe can help the team is Florida State’s center Cameron Erving. Erving has started all along the line and has always made the calls for his team showing his ability to read a defense and help his teammates out.
The third spot the head coach pointed out was the wide receiver position. Again the release of a veteran player has made this hole even bigger as the team parted ways with star receiver Andre Johnson, now of the Indianapolis Colts.
The team did add veteran Cecil Shorts III in free agency while also bringing back one of their own in Damaris Johnson. Still, they need more players to surround their new young star receiver, DeAndre Hopkins with. O’Brien sounds as if there will be no more free agents brought in at this position and the team will look to the draft for playmakers.
"“Continuing to do, probably through the draft, a good job of filling in the wide receiver position.” – O’Brien"
Lastly Bill O’Brien said he wanted to add to the secondary, mostly at the safety position. The starting duo of D.J. Swearinger and recent free agent acquisition Rahim Moore is a good core. Behind those two however there is a lack of talent. The team most likely will look to the draft here as well to find a guy who can provide depth while also helping on special teams as they develop.
While the team may not be able to address each need in the upcoming draft, it is nice to know that the coach has narrowed down the main areas of concern that the team needs to focus on.