Nov 23, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Ryan Mallett (15) rolls out of the pocket against the Cincinnati Bengals at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
On the offensive side of the ball, the single biggest key for the Texans is the development of a functioning starting QB. The two long-term starters Houston has had, David Carr (2002-2006) and Matt Schaub (2007-2013) have seemed to define the success of the team. When they were good, so was the team as a whole, and when they were bad, the team suffered.
As it is right now, the quarterback position is the biggest question on Houston’s roster. At this point it seems as though Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer are the two QBs at the heart of the competition for the starting job, and this competition is vital to the team’s success.
The current coaching staff understands how crucial the QB position is, but even more importantly they understand the importance of those who protect him. A key feature of Houston’s poor seasons has been an inability to protect their quarterback, David Carr being both 1st and 3rd on the all-time list of most sacks taken in a single season, in historically bad seasons.
Whoever takes over as the starter will luckily not be thrown into this kind of situation. Pro Football Focus ranked Houston’s O-line 5th in 2014 and 3rd in run-blocking, and this line has only improved by holding on to key veterans and the development of guards Xavier Su’a-Filo and Brandon Brooks. This line, with an average age of 26, looks to be the keystone to Houston’s future.
Running behind this line is Arian Foster, a running back who has been among the best in the league in recent years. While many believe Foster is on his last legs, he may still have a few elite seasons left. Hopefully this is a spot Houston will not need to address for a season or two, as the 28 year old back has shown that when healthy he can put up big numbers.
The only projected starters on offense older than Arian Foster are tight-end Garrett Graham (28) and tackle Duane Brown (29). The average age of Houston’s projected starting offense is under 26 years, making them a fairly young team. While this means they likely have a lot to learn, it also means that these young players are getting excellent experience that will help the team compete in the near future.
The offensive side of the team is the one that needs the most work, but with a solid line, a few great skill players, and a lot of room for development, they should be solid. The quarterback situation is still a huge question mark, but with so much surrounding talent the Texans don’t need an elite passer, merely someone that can hold on to the football, be efficient, and get the ball to his playmakers.
Next: Texans Defense