The Texans’ run defense was abysmal in 2022, finishing dead last allowing 2,894 yards with a yard per carry of 5.0 yards. They gave up 25 rushing touchdowns as well, second worst, only to the Chicago Bears.
The team went out and acquired defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins, along with former Pro Bowl linebackers, Cory Littleton and Denzel Perryman. These three should help shore up the run defense and it’s likely the Texans use one of their two top-12 selections to select another defensive player.
According to PFF, Rankins received a 2022 grade of 73.1, while Perryman and Littleton were each graded at 74.2 and 72.2, respectively.
The team also brought over another defensive tackle, Hassan Ridgeway from the San Francisco 49ers. He played under Coach Ryans last season and knows his defensive style and scheme.
Houston added a lot of new faces on the defensive side of the ball already this offseason via free agency. The defense will look vastly different from a season ago and should be greatly improved under the tutelage of this new coaching staff with Coach Ryans’ defensive background.
As I stated at the beginning of this article, the Texans have been mired in mediocrity for some time now. The Watson drama was just the start and something they badly needed to move on from, which they have.
The team is now on their fourth head coach since Bill O’Brien’s tenure ended after the 2020 season and has not won more than four games in a season since then. Coach Ryans brings success with him and is well-respected by players and fans around the league.
It will be imperative that Ryans and this new coaching staff instill an attitude of winning within the locker room and get the players, specifically, the leadership on the roster to buy into what Ryans is selling.
Similar to what Coach McDermott did with the Buffalo Bills early in their roster rebuild, Ryans has already signed a few of his former players to join him. This is important for two reasons. It provides instant leadership on the roster, as well as players who can help others learn and understand Ryans’ scheme.
The expectations of making the playoffs should not be placed on this team to determine if 2023 was successful. Proper roster building takes time and patience. The Texans have some draft assets in both this year and next, along with some solid free-agent signings, I believe the team can get this organization turned around and is already headed in the right direction.