Texans passing game should take step forward in 2018

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 08: Deshaun Watson #4 of the Houston Texans drops back for a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs in the first quarter at NRG Stadium on October 8, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 08: Deshaun Watson #4 of the Houston Texans drops back for a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs in the first quarter at NRG Stadium on October 8, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

In only seven games Deshaun Watson showed tremendous potential as a rookie. The Houston Texans signal caller should build upon last season and take the passing attack to another level.

Seven games. That is all Deshaun Watson was able to play until a torn ACL suffered in practice ended his season. However during that time there were flashes of potential that proved why Houston selected him in the first round.

Deshaun Watson #4 of the Houston Texans throws a pass rushed by Avery Williamson #54 of the Tennessee Titans (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

During his brief rookie campaign Watson completed 61.8 percent of his passes for 1,699 yards, 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions. In addition to his impressive performance throwing the ball Watson added 269 yards on the ground with two rushing touchdowns. Watson’s ability to be a dynamic playmaker is just one of the reasons why the Texans passing game should improve in 2018.

Building chemistry with existing receivers

It is not a secret that the chemistry between a quarterback and his receivers is integral to the success of a team. Watson only had a handful of games to build chemistry with the Texans receivers. Now in year two the chemistry should without a doubt improve.

DeAndre Hopkins #10 of the Houston Texans catches a pass from Deshaun Watson #4 in the fourth quarter for a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

DeAndre Hopkins is the Texans number one receiver. Hopkins has proven that he can produce with just about anyone throwing him the ball. Last season Hopkins put together his second best season in his career with 96 receptions for 1,378 yards and a career best 13 touchdowns and only a small part of that was with Watson. A full season with Watson as his quarterback should at least put together comparable numbers if not surpass this past season.

Will Fuller displayed signs as a breakout candidate with Watson lining up under center. The second year receiver averaged just over 15 yards per reception in 10 games and hauled in seven touchdowns. Fuller was a productive deep threat for Watson last season and should continue to do so next season. Hopkins and Fuller should be Watson’s favorite receivers next season.

Improved offensive line

The Texans offensive line was dreadful in 2017. This is why the improvements made during the offseason cannot be ignored. Bringing in Zach Fulton, Senio Kelemete and Seantrel Henderson will improve a group that was one of the worst in the NFL last season.

The improvements that Houston made will allow Watson to be more comfortable in the pocket. Additionally the offense will not have to rely on pulling lineman and moving pockets as much in the passing game. While Watson is not a traditional drop back quarterback, making adjustments towards a more traditional passing game will benefit Watson and the Texans. If Watson is able to surprise defenses when he takes off with the ball it will be more impactful than if he runs frequently. Watson ran five or more times in four of his six starts, including eight times on two occasions. Interestingly both times that Watson had eight rushing attempts the Texans lost both games. It is possible that if the Texans rely on others to run the ball other than Watson that Houston wins more games next season.

Shootouts against successful teams in 2017 should help in 2018

Watson was impressive in three shootout games in 2017. Unfortunately Houston lost all three games to Kansas City, New England and Seattle. In those three games Watson threw for 964 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. This includes five touchdowns in the loss to the Chiefs. Watson also added 139 yards combined in the three contests. Watson has shown he can lead the Texans to near victories as a rookie against tough competition.

With the improvements that the Texans have made and more time to build chemistry with his teammates it is hard to believe that the outcomes of theses contests do not change for the better next time around.