Unlike the quarterback position group whose performance primarily depends on one individual, the performance of an offensive line is usually easier to predict. However, the performance of the Texans’ 2016 offensive line is so dependent upon Duane Brown that expectations are more volatile.
“The Good” is unlikely because the 10-6 prediction already included an optimistic view of the offensive line’s performance. From game #1 Duane Brown must be at full speed with the entire line fully integrated and healthy throughout the season. That would lessen the pressure on Brock Osweiler and make an 11-5 season more achievable. Likelihood of “The Good” – 5%.
“The Bad” scenario still results in enough big plays when the line clicks that the offense will be explosive, though inconsistent. The underperforming offensive line is likely to result in at least one less win sometime during the season. 10-6 is still possible, but 9-7 becomes a more probable outcome. Likelihood of “The Bad” – 15%.
“The Ugly” requires a rash of injuries to offensive linemen with Duane Brown being one of those sidelined. The Texans are more vulnerable than most teams because the loss of one player, Brown, turns a potentially very good offensive line into a very average line. That’s a slippery slope that with more injuries could result in as few as 7 wins. Likelihood of “The Ugly” – 10%
The performance of the quarterback and offensive line position groups will determine the Texans’ offensive fate. The extraordinary skill of DeAndre Hopkins notwithstanding, Brock Osweiler and Duane Brown are the two most important players on the offensive side of the ball. If they stay healthy this can be a very good offense. If Hopkins stays healthy too, it can be the best offense in Texans history.