The Houston Texans’ 2017 season has been ravaged by injuries, haulting the playoff aspirations that echoed the halls of spring training.
The Houston Texans, as a team, are a mess. All the talent in the world needed to be a championship team is there, but the loss of defensive stars J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus, coped with the loss of first round selection and franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson, has left the team gassed.
Watson, Watt and Mercilus are all gone for the season.
Veteran quarterbackTom Savage is back in the starting line up. Not because of his talent, but due to the devastating ACL injury that Watson suffered in a week eight loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Houston’s offense has declined severely. An offense that scored 34.1 points per contest with Watson now manages a measly ten points per game with Savage.
This team will not win a Super Bowl scoring ten points per game. They will not make the playoffs scoring ten points a game.
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Is the season lost? It is possible. Thankfully they will benefit from a high draft pick. No, they traded their first two picks in the upcoming draft to the Cleveland Browns for the subtraction of quarterback Brock Osweiler and the pick they used to select Watson.
No high draft picks to look forward to, and most playoff dreams shot.
So what can the Texans do that is positive?
The injuries have allowed the Texans to build depth in their front-seven on defense.
Players like Brennan Scarlett, Dylan Cole and 2017 draft selections Zach Cunningham and Carlos Watkins, have gotten more reps due to injuries. Cunningham aside, these are all role players in 2018.
Cunningham is set to take over for Texan great Brian Cushing. Watkins will most likely either be a role player or grow into the starter on the line opposite from Watt.
Scarlett has already proven to be a good role-player. With more reps he could fill into a John Simon mold on the Texans’ defense.
When he returns, Cole will have an opportunity to garner more reps and grow as a tackler in the run game. This would make him more complete as he already possesses elite coverage skills for a linebacker.
When the stars on the defense get healthy, they will have better depth behind them. Rotations on the front seven will work seamlessly. Watt’s health is clearly an issue, so spotting him some reps will go a long way towards maintaining his health.
The offensive line will get plenty of work too.
The Texans also traded away three-time Pro Bowl left tackle Duane Brown last week. He only played one game this season, but the loss still looms large.
Coming into the season, the Texans’ offensive line was in flux due to the loss of Derek Newton from his could-be career-ending injury that he suffered last year. They need help.
The Texans’ line is relatively young. Players like center Nick Martin, guard Greg Mancz, tackle Julien Davenport and guard Xavier Su’a-Filo are all under the age of 26. With the exclusion of Martin, the others have struggled mightily at times in their careers.
Experience will help their growth tremendously.
Giving them as many reps as possible should come to the forefront in order to develop their offensive lineman and learn which five players work best going into the offseason. Their development should be the focus on offense this season.
With the season looking so down, and no hopes of draft capital on its way, it is time to start focussing on the internal development of players on the Texans’ roster.
Depth on the defense comes into focus on great teams– as everyone is needed for a championship caliber team. Figuring out the offensive line this season will help the Texans going into the offseason as well as when Watson comes back.
The Texans’ Super Bowl hopes were shot when Watt and Mercilus went down. The playoff hopes were shot with the losses of Watson and Brown on offense. It’s time to look forward to next year.