New coach. New culture. New quarterback. That’s all the Houston Texans need to get back to the class of the NFL, right?
The harsh reality is that a gradual rebuild is more likely than a Kansas City-like turnaround. There are many more holes on this team than the glaring one at quarterback.
Is there a best-case scenario that finds the Texans in the playoffs? Sure. The 2014 schedule will be much easier and their 10 best players are as good as any team’s best, but a lot of pieces would have to fall in place.
J.J. Watt, Andre Johnson, Duane Brown, Arian Foster, Brian Cushing, and Chris Myers; are all top five in the league at their respective positions (when healthy). They have two very good cornerbacks in Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson, when the pass rush doesn’t resemble Houdini. In hindsight, guard Brandon Brooks and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins look to be above average players, which is great for the long haul. But when the injury bug strikes, this team is not built to overcome the inevitable setbacks that happen to every team during the course of an NFL season.
The talent of the back half of the Texans roster is sub par to say the least. The lackluster special teams play proved that.
I am amazed that some are drinking the Kool-aid already convinced the #texans can turn it around in one yr Just too many holes on roster.
— Randy McIlvoy (@RandyMcIlvoy) December 30, 2013
There’s really only two ways to win despite injuries and performance issues that the Texans consistently face.
The obvious, is having a quarterback talented enough to mask the problems and elevate the rest of the team. There’s only one tiny issue in saying that – THERE’S NO MORE THAN EIGHT OF THOSE QUARTERBACKS ON THE PLANET!
No matter how much you love Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, or Blake Bortles, they’ll be dealing with their own “rookie issues”. Most of the time, it’s considered “doing well” overcoming those issues, during a rookie season. The last time I checked none of those guys are considered to be as good as Andrew Luck. Even Luck’s rookie mistakes ended any hopes of the Colts advancing in the playoffs.
The other way to win is having OUTSTANDING depth. The depth problems in 2013 led to the Texans being forced to plug-in players that would struggle to be on other rosters.
How do they go about the overhaul with the existing salary cap problems? First is to hope that 2013 draft picks David Quessenberry, Trevardo Williams, and Brennan Williams who spent the year on injured reserve, are quality players that fit the new schemes. Next is to address quarterback with the number one pick and let head coach/quarterback guru, Bill O’Brien work his magic.
The upcoming draft must be a home run. There are many areas to address, but quarterback, a pass-rushing outside linebacker, and defensive line help must be the top priorities. This draft will have to produce at least three quality starters immediately, if there’s any hope of regaining respectability. The front office can no longer afford to miss in the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the draft. The mid rounds and free agency must be used to add depth at running back, inside linebacker, secondary, and offensive line.
You can believe that it will all work out great, but your glass better be more than half-full. Along with that glass, you better hope someone pulls a Dan Snyder and gives up a king’s ransom for the number one pick.
I’m not saying that the Houston Texans can’t pull this off, because it’s been done before in the NFL. I’m saying as logical sports fans, with all the holes in the Texans roster, and no control of the changes that are being be made off Kirby, we have to hold out hope. Because that’s all we really have at this point – Hope.
Stay tuned for my take on the details regarding contracts and soon-to-be cap casualties.
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