The Ugly – The Texans are deep enough in most position groups that it takes an injury to a key performer and another event to trigger The Ugly. At offensive left tackle, defensive end, and wide receiver the key performer is so good compared to his replacement that a single injury puts the position group on the very edge of The Ugly.
DeAndre Hopkins is one of the best #1 receivers in the NFL. None of the other Texans receivers, though each has at least one outstanding skill, display the range of skills required of a true #1 receiver. A serious injury to Hopkins would fundamentally change the Texans offense. A “ground and pound” offense can win, but the Texans didn’t guarantee $37 mil to Brock Osweiler and draft all that receiver speed to revert to a run first offense.
Under The Ugly scenario Brock Osweiler’s completion percentage and yards per passing attempt would suffer. Rookies would be forced into carrying loads for which they are not yet ready. There would be more dependence on the capable running game, but with defenses geared to stop the run yards per carry and scoring would be down.
As with The Bad, The Ugly scenario for the receiver group can be partly offset by efficient quarterback play and a strong, cohesive offensive line. Without Hopkins this team is capable of producing an 8-8 season, maybe even 9-7, but playoffs are questionable and Super Bowl not even part of the conversation.
Next: What are the Chances?