The Houston Texans during their rebuild can learn a lot from the two Super Bowl qualifiers.
Hopefully the Houston Texans were watching closely on Sunday during both the AFC and NFC championship games and taking a close look at how the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams played on big stages, and how each have built their rosters.
The Bengals have used the draft to select players like quarterback Joe Burrow, running back Joe Mixon, and wide receivers Tee Higgins, La’Marr Chase and Tyler Boyd.
The Rams have used trades of first-round picks to get players on their offense like quarterback Matthew Stafford, signed free agents like Odell Beckham Jr., and used the draft for wide receiver Cooper Kupp (a third-round pick) and running back Cam Akers (a second-round pick).
That is just looking at the offense, and not even the defense of the Rams, who drafted a superstar defensive end like Aaron Donald and signed a former first-round pick named Leonard Floyd, who didn’t do so well with the Chicago Bears when drafted by them.
The Rams are a “win now” team, as they showed with the trade for veteran linebacker Von Miller, and they added cornerback Jalen Ramsey to the defense too, who also was a former first-round (Top 5 pick) and one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.
Texans: Adding key players lifted both Rams and Bengals defenses
Look at Cincinnati and how they build their defense, none closer to the Houston Texans than when Houston let D.J. Reader walk in free agency and he went with the Bengals two years ago. Now he’s a huge part of their defense, and though he cost the Bengals a big contract for a defensive tackle, it has paid off for them.
The Bengals added Eli Apple to their roster after he didn’t have his best years after being drafted by the New York Giants in the first round, and now he’s made some timely plays in the playoffs. Chidobe Awuzie is another player whom the Bengals added to their team after being a second-round pick by the Dallas Cowboys, and he’s made a difference at times too.
The two head coaches are something to think about too as the Texans are once again trying to find the right head coach in this current rebuild. Two years ago, Bengals head coach Zac Taylor led the Bengals to the worst record in the NFL. That led them to drafting Burrow with the No. 1 pick, and since then their roster has been rebuilt.
The Rams were average with Jeff Fisher as their head coach, but Sean McVay took over as the youngest head coach and now in two of the past four years – with two different quarterbacks – the Rams have made the Super Bowl.
All of that was mentioned to say this … both of these two teams rebuilt their rosters in different ways, but what the feeling is they were fearless in their decision making. The Bengals still don’t have the greatest of offensive lines, but they are still winning. The Rams have a 40-year-old left tackle, and they are still winning at the highest levels.
Their head coaches had no experience as a head coach before they were hired for their current jobs, but they hired the right people to help them get better as they gained experience.
The Houston Texans must be fearless, not overthink things, and make the moves they know will make their franchise better. It might not look the best on paper, but the Bengals and Rams are proof that being the best on paper means nothing.
Building a team that can work together to have success against the rest of the league is what matters, whether or not it makes sense to everyone else during the process of a rebuild. That part can be forgiven – and even forgotten – if success follows.