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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Off-season Troubleshooting: Houston Texans

The best thing for the Houston Texans about the 2013 season is that it is over. The Texans were considered a hot team before the season started, but struggled to a 2-0 start before collapsing entirely and losing the next fourteen games. Quarterback Matt Schaub went into complete meltdown, setting all kinds of records for throwing pick-sixes. Coach Gary Kubiak was fired mid-season, even after suffering a stroke on the sideline in a game with the Colts.  The Texans now face a big re-building job, but with a lot of room to manoeuvre and the number one draft pick, what are the Texans going to target this off-season? :




Offense:

Much improvement needed. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what went wrong with Schaub, as his game just seemed to fall apart entirely. After the early season mistakes built up, the confidence just eroded from the man, and he ended up throwing fourteen picks in his ten appearances. When he was re-introduced by Kubiak, benching the hometown hero Case Keenum mid-game, the crowd were disgusted, booing heartily. Schaub will surely be released, opening up the starting job. Keenum himself played ok, but still failed to lead his team to a win as they went on a franchise record fourteen straight losses. Quarterback is priority number one this off-season in Houston. This unit will likely see substantial changes this year, as a few linemen will be sweating over new contracts, as they were specifically useful for playing Kubiak’s stretch-zone run game. How new head coach Bill O’Brien will want to play the run game will be key for how the line shapes up next year. A dependable running back will also need to be acquired, with Ben Tate heading to free agency and Arian Foster returning from back surgery. The Texans are a bit of a statistical anomaly, ranking in eleventh on offense, as well as the top ten defensive units. But when you see their turnover differential is minus twenty, you see the amount of short fields they gave their opposition before having to come out slinging to try and catch up. But this offense has some good pieces at its disposal. Andre Johnson chipped in with his now expected massive contribution, reaching fourteen hundred yards despite being the subject of huge coverage, while rookie wide receive DeAndre Hopkins also added a further eight hundred yards. Sort the quarterback spot and this team won’t take long getting back to winning.

Defense:

This defense was tasked with far too much in 2013, which may have contributed to it not quite hitting the heights expected. When J.J. Watt became the subject of a number of double and triple-teams, he was still productive. However, the opportunities were there for others to make the pressure count, and only Whitney Mercilus and Antonio Smith were able to take advantage on any kind of consistent basis. Smith is out of contract and not certain to return, so a young pass rusher to play on the other end of the line may need to be found. There are a number of  defensive linemen out of contract in Houston, and with players like Smith aging and Jarvis Green a short-term patch, the Texans may look to get younger blood into the line. The defense was also only able to come up with a total of seven interceptions all year, which is not good enough, while also giving up too much on the ground, averaging over 120 yards per game. Again, these are partially down to the offense turning the ball over too often and teams not needing to throw much to beat Houston, but there will still need to be improvement in all areas defensively.

Players to target in free agency:

James Starks, RB.
Arthur Jones, DE.
Everson Griffen, DE.
Alex Carrington, DT.
Vance Walker, DT.
Louis Delmas, FS.
Nick Collins, FS.

By Andy Halligan

1 comment:

  1. Who are YOU trying to kid The defense went south when thy let Ryans go. We need a solid double tough leader in the middle and a pair of guards that do just that guard. A veteran to give Keenum a chance to learn. I like McCoy, Texas kid the fans will rally around. Good arm, mobile, smart, tough...

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