The Texans were a wild ride during the 2018 season. After starting out 0-3, Houston went on to rip off nine straight victories. The Texans would end up at 11-5, eventually losing to the Indianapolis Colts in the Wild Card game.
However, the future is bright in Houston. Deshaun Watson looks like a star, the best receiver in football. Meanwhile, Deandre Hopkins is looking to make another big impact this season. The defense will look to capitalize on another dominant year behind JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. Like all teams, Houston has some question marks heading into the 2019 season. Will their offense be able to take the next step forward? Can Houston protect Deshaun Watson? What can the Texans do to take control of the AFC South?
1. Will the Texans’ offense take the next step forward?
When you look at the numbers last year from the Houston offense, they won’t jump out at you as anything special. According to Pro Football Reference, the Texans finished 17th in passing yards, and 8th in rushing yards. The numbers aren’t amazing, but they are fine for a team in the AFC South, where there are still questions about who the favorite is.
All the skill pieces are there for this offense to be truly special. Watson has a great arm, and has shown time and time again he can make plays with his legs if need be. They have the best receiver in Deandre Hopkins, who I’m pretty sure was bitten by a radioactive spider and can also climb walls. That’s how good his hands are. Lamar Miller won’t blow you away, but he’s consistent. Miller has rushed for at least 875 yards every year he’s been in Houston, and he’s doing that whilst also playing behind a horrible offensive line.
What really sticks out to me about his offense is Will Fuller. He’s one of my favorite players to watch because he can take the top off any defense on any given play. The Texans are at their best when Fuller is healthy, which hasn’t been the case since he entered the league. He only played in seven games in 2018, after playing just ten the year before in 2017.
If Will Fuller can stay healthy, I think this offense has a chance to be something special heading into the
2. How can Houston protect Deshaun Watson?
I feel like you could just copy and paste this question every year with the Texans, how can they protect star quarterback Deshaun Watson? Take a guess at how many times Watson was sacked last year…the answer is 65 times. 65 TIMES. The next closest was Dak Prescott at 58 times.
Whatever the plan is, it needs to be fast tracked, because Watson can’t be taking hits like this year after year. Remember how that worked out for Andrew Luck? He ended up having two straight seasons with shoulder issues. Now look at him, once Indianapolis put resources into the offensive line, Luck was sacked just 21 times last season.
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like the Texans haven’t tried. It did take a lot of draft capital to move up to get Watson. They just need to do better, which is why they drafted Tytus Howard in the first round of the 2019 draft. It was an interesting move at the time to say the least, considering Tytus started his career at Alabama State to play Quarterback. However, he’s big, he’s fast, and the Texans staff love him. Through camp, he’s played left guard, which is fine, but that’s not what you drafted him to be.
There is a certain left tackle in Washington that I would like out of that situation…and his name is Trent Williams. If I’m Houston, I’m staying on the line and making sure no other teams can call.
If the Texans want to take that next leap, they need to make sure they protect their franchise QB.
3. What are the next steps to take control of the AFC South?
If you take a look at the rosters in the AFC South, you’ll notice that everyone has talent and there isn’treally a dominant team. The Colts have a good offense, but lots of questions on their defense. The Jaguars have a good defense, but question marks on their offense. Like will we see the Nick Foles we’ve seen the last couple of years in Philly? Or will we get the guy from St. Louis who was honestly kind of terrible? And then there’s the Titans who, as usual, have more questions than answers.
The truth is, the Texans really don’t have to make significant changes in order to take hold of the division. They don’t need to make a bold trade, or even a small trade. They just need to get better internally.
Houston is already in a really good position. They have one of the best defenses in all of football, one of the best young QB’s in the game, and weapons on offense that will make a majority of teams jealous.
They just need to take a tiny little baby step forward on offense, and they’ll be the division favorites