What is the biggest concern for the Houston Texans in 2020?
Over the last few seasons, the biggest derailment to the Houston Texans success has been players staying healthy. This season will be no different, but it won’t be confined to just playing football.
A major contributor suffering a major injury has become a bit of a tradition for the Texans franchise the last few years. Every team has to deal with injuries, but the Houston Texans have been quite the overachievers in that regard.
J.J. Watt has dealt with major injuries in his career, and last year was no different. Watt was able to comeback for the playoffs, but the injury bug has been an unfortunate trend for the three-time Defensive Player of the Year. In the 2016 and 2017 seasons Watt missed a total of 24 games due to injuries, and he missed eight regular season games last year.
Quarterback Deshaun Watson saw his rookie season derailed due to a non-contact injury after playing in just seven games in 2017. Watson also had to famously take a bus to a game in Jacksonville after suffering a rib injury in the 2018 season. He didn’t have to miss time, but nobody wants to see Watson taking hits when he is already suffering an injury.
Other key contributors like wide receiver Will Fuller have had similar issues. Since being drafted in 2016, Fuller has played in 42 out of a possible 64 regular season games. Fuller has had an obvious impact while on the field, but his ability to stay healthy has prevented him and the offense from reaching their potential.
Randall Cobb, David Johnson and Brandin Cooks were key offseason acquisitions. The three of them have all dealt with injuries of all levels throughout their careers. On paper, they give the offense potential to be electric, but they fit the overarching trend of potential availability concern.
The Houston Texans have built depth at the wide receiver position, and leaned more towards an overall focus on speed. So that could alleviate any potential injury concerns, but Fuller and Watson have developed a connection unlike any other receiver on the roster.
More than anything else, this team has been held back by injuries. Not having the team at full strength prevents building chemistry and familiarity on the field. Fans may argue that general manager/head coach Bill O’Brien is the biggest hindrance on the team, but talent can overcome anything.
The last few seasons the Houston Texans have had to deal with finding a way to game plan around big injuries. They have taken steps to build depth, but the current state of the country with COVID-19 may shut things down. Professional leagues are doing what they can to continue, but the global pandemic is an opponent like no other.
Both Texas teams have seen their organizations effected prior to even coming together for team activities. The Ivy League has decided to cancel all sports this Fall along with Morehouse College. Leagues are making the decision to be cautious with the coronavirus rather than putting their student-athletes at risk.
Seeing that organizations are willing to cancel sports, it opens the possibility that the NFL could follow in their footsteps. The pandemic is not looking like it will go away in the country anytime soon. The NBA is having players report to Orlando to finish out a shortened season, but some players have decided to sit out for various reasons.
It is very possible that players in the NFL will take the same stance. Some pandemic specific rules are being presented and the players have been critical of the logic behind them.
As much as injuries can derail the Houston Texans season, the coronavirus may very well shut down the league if some trends continue. We would all love to see football return and save us from our quarantine blues, but the people playing have a dangerous job already.
Putting them at more risk and adding a pandemic to the mix seems like a tough call to make. No matter how much money is at stake.