The Houston Texans have built one of the most athletic and versatile offenses in the NFL in the brief amount of time Bill O’Brien has been in Houston.
The Houston Texans have failed to excel on offense since Bill O’Brien became head coach. But with the weapons and versatility present; it could breed a top ten offense this coming season.
While many have been impatiently awaiting O’Brien’s scheme to translate to big plays, the Texans have slowly been putting the pieces in place to make that a reality.
What many fans do not realize is it takes multiple complementary weapons to make a great offense. It takes more than just wide receiver Deandre Hopkins and running back Lamar Miller.
It all starts with the NFL draft.
Since O’Brien–the former New England Patriots offensive coordinator–became the head coach in Houston, the Texans have slowly added the right pieces on offense through the draft.
Adding versatile players such as wide receivers Will Fuller, Braxton Miller, Jaelen Strong, running back D’Onta Foreman, tight end Stephen Anderson, and quarterback Deshaun Watson have changed the dynamic of the offense.
Each individual has a defined role similar to the system O’Brien left behind on the East Coast.
The Texans can utilize 2017 first round selection Deshaun Watson’s legs in designed runs out of the shotgun.
Houston can use the human battering ram that is third round selection D’Onta Foreman. The team also has a good trio of tight ends to compliment all facets of the offensive attack.
Defenses can scheme to double up All Pro wide out DeAndre Hopkins at the risk of getting burned by an agile Fuller or Miller out of the slot or on a screen.
Recently, I wrote about the Texans’ receiving corps being primed for a breakout season.
With each individual piece here, it will be nearly impossible for opposing defenses to double up on one of the Texans’ weapons. If they do so, they can expect to get burned.
The Texans’ offense has the pieces to be a dominating balanced attack with a trio of receivers to compliment their backfield.
This year’s draft class should also alleviate the Texans’ red zone struggles from a year ago. As Watson and Foreman excelled in those situations . Just their presence should aid in fixing what was the 31st rated red zone offense in 2016.
The Texans’ offense can give opposing defenses fits with their versatility.
Observing a simple three-wide shotgun set paints a scary picture for opposing defenses. Imagine the athletic duo of Watson and running back Lamar Miller in the backfield to go with the aforementioned wide receiver trio.
Watson could hand it to Miller, or take it himself.
Hopkins could run any route and his presence alone would garner a double team.
Miller could come in motion pre-snap then run a quick drag on a bootleg like his coach Wes Welker excelled at in New England.
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Fuller and the two Millers are threats to take a screen to the house on any play. All three can beat a defender one on one with ease. It has just been a matter of getting them the ball.
Opposing defenses will have to key off on this offense’s pre-snap to have a chance at slowing these explosive players down. But they will have very little time to do so.
The Texans have the pieces to run an up-tempo offense and with their elite athleticism they can outlast just about any defense from a stamina point.
The addition of Deshaun Watson only adds to that versatility.
O’Brien has wanted to run an up-tempo offense that resembles the one he left in New England.
This offense was a similar one to what Clemson ran with Watson against Alabama in back-to-back National Championship games.
Watson excels under an up-tempo offense with quick-read throws. He is also a rhythm passer. Meaning when he gets going he is hard to stop. All of these traits complement the scheme O’Brien wants to run. I’ve already expanded on Watson’s eventual acceleration through the system.
A balanced offense is a dangerous offense.
The only hole left on the Texans’ offense would be on the right side of the offensive line.
All of the weapons are finally here. If the Texans can solve the right tackle position, they won’t have any real holes this coming season. The answer at right tackle may already be on the roster, however.
With all of the additions made through the draft over the years, there are no more excuses. There are no more holes. The development of the skilled position players that I’ve listed has been a key, aside from the improvements on the Texans’ coaching staff. Hopkins was a specific guy who excelled with the coaching change in 2014.
The Texans’ offense may not be The Greatest Show On Turf, but it can most certainly dominate next season and for many to come.
With the sum of Watson and the skilled position players surrounding him, this team can run any type of offense the game dictates. That makes this offense deadlier than it has ever been.