Will the Texans be ready at quarterback and running back in ’21?

Houston Texans running back David Johnson (31)gAn52802
Houston Texans running back David Johnson (31)gAn52802 /
Houston Texans, David Johnson
Houston Texans running back David Johnson (31) gAn52802 /

There is just so much hard to look past when it comes to the Houston Texans that when many are projecting them as the very worst team in the NFL for the upcoming 2021 season, it is tough not to disagree.

With Deshaun Watson as their starting quarterback last season, a season where he was the NFL passing leader, the Texans were the third-worst team in the entire NFL as their only wins came against the Jacksonville Jaguars (twice), the New England Patriots and the Detroit Lions.

This year, it is all but official that Watson won’t be under center for the Texans in ’21, but the current roster of quarterbacks also includes Tyrod Taylor, Jeff Driskel and rookie Davis Mills, so it could be a long season at the position.

There can still be some excitement for Taylor because last year he was going to be the main option for the Los Angeles Chargers before a crazy accident left him sidelined in Week 2, then he lost his job to Justin Herbert.

The Texans recently added Driskel to the roster and cut Ryan Findley, so that switch is basically a wash, and the wild card is the rookie Mills because he’s never taken a snap in the league, and there is some pressure to eventually show progression as he was a third-round pick.

Driskel made one start for the Denver Broncos last season, and the Texans are his fourth franchise in what will be his fourth season. Driskel passed for 432 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions in ’20.

Houston Texans: Running backs have chance to surprise

The running backs of the Houston Texans have had past success in the league, and one running back won’t be looked upon to be the top rusher, though going into this season, the majority of the snaps will most likely go to David Johnson. Johnson was the No. 1 option for the Houston Texans and he rushed for 691 yards and six touchdowns on 147 carries.

Johnson missed five games last season, and he did good things catching passes as well, finishing with 33 receptions for 314 yards and two touchdowns. If the Texans want to be a competitive team, or at least stay in games, then Johnson is really going to step up his overall game compared to what we saw from last season.

Other running backs on the roster include Mark Ingram, Phillip Lindsay, Buddy Howell, Scottie Phillips and Dontrell Hilliard.

The addition of Ingram and Lindsay can be exciting and were smart moves for the ’21 season because Ingram is a solid veteran to have on the roster, and Lindsay still has potential to be a serviceable running back in the league.

With Lindsay, this will be just his fourth season in the NFL, and he hopefully will get plenty of opportunity with this offense under offensive coordinator Tim Kelly.

Lindsay played in 11 games last season, finishing with 502 yards on 114 carries. It was the first time in his three seasons where he didn’t have 1,000-plus yards rushing in a season. It was also the first time where he didn’t play in at least 15 games.

Lindsay also had just one rushing touchdown, so if ’20 was just a down season, and he can bounce back to the type of running back he has to talent to be, Houston could be very dangerous as a rushing team.

A duo of Johnson and Lindsay could be much stronger than that of last season where it was David Johnson and Duke Johnson, but Duke Johnson never got enough opportunities carrying the football.

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The hope is Lindsay gets the proper number of carries, and with all the questions the Houston Texans have at quarterback entering the ’21 season, maybe the Houston offense relies on their rushing game in ’21, which wouldn’t be such a bad thing.