Well, the wait is over and the Texans have officially started camp. It has been a rough start to the offseason with J.J. Watt injured and a brief holdout by DeAndre Hopkins, but hopes are high that we will finally have a deep playoff run. For this to happen, there will have to be improvement in all three phases of the game and I believe that the potential is definitely there. With this being said, there are still a few areas that I feel are weaknesses.
Let’s start with the offense. There have been many additions to the roster that foreshadow an increased ability to move the ball this season. We have a new quarterback in Brock Osweiler as well as several other pieces that can and should immediately impact the Texans’ offensive attack. Speed is one tool that can not be taught and it seems as though Rick Smith and the gang made that a primary focus this offseason. Speedsters such as Lamar Miller and Will Fuller will undoubtedly add stress to opponents defensive coordinators while DeAndre Hopkins continues to improve as one of the leagues top possession receivers.
However, the Texans did not make a large effort to improve the tight end position. In years past, tight ends largely impacted the teams offense with players such as Owen Daniels streaking down the seams of the defense for key receptions and catching touchdowns in the redzone. Last year, we did not see a whole lot of production from this position group. C.J. Fiedorowicz in particular, had a below average year including several key drops and turnovers that seemed to change the momentum of some winnable games. I’m not saying that he does not have potential, but I am simply stating that an impact player at tight end would definitely increase our chances of winning.
Defensively, the Texans have one of the most dominant forces of recent times in J.J. Watt. He affects the game in so many ways that it is almost immeasurable. This is a given. He makes everyone around him better by simply being on the field. Hopefully, he will be on the field doing what he does best on September 11th against the Bears. Besides this, the rest of the defense showed promise as well. They bent but did not break while forcing a fair amount of turnovers last season. Unfortunately, this was not the case in the biggest game of the season verses the Chiefs during the playoffs.
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I view the Texans’ largest weakness of the defense as the linbacking corps. Brian Cushing was once a huge obstacle for opposing offenses, but he is merely a shell of his former self after a pair of major injuries over the last few seasons. I have witnessed a loss of speed and tackling efficiency, which has tremendously affected our ability to stop the run as well as short crossing routes. Trust me, I understand that its only natural for this type of decline in production to occur after the misfortune that Cush has encountered, but that doesn’t negate the fact that improvement is needed to be successful.
The Texans have also fallen victim to the injuries of Jadeveon Clowney, who has been the starting outside linebacker for the past two years. Its tough to award him that title since he has played very little and we have only a small sample size of what to expect. He definitely has freakish athleticism, but none of that means anything if you are consistently on the bench while the team is desperately in need of your services. We have yet to see the type of havoc that a pass rush of Clowney and Watt should produce. Personally, I feel that Clowney would be much more effective as a 4-3 defensive end with killing the quarterback as his only objective besides setting the edge.
Last but certainly not least, the special teams unit has not been an asset to the team for several years. The Texans have been victims of poor field position on both sides of the ball far too often. Kick returning has been below average as well as kick coverage. Charles James has certainly been a standout, but it has not been enough to make the unit effective as a whole. The addition of Braxton Miller should definitely give the Texans’ return game a shot of B-12, but coverage will have to be more of a group effort. Overall, Im going to have to say that special teams is a weakness as a unit, which is unacceptable if we want to win.
I predict that the Texans have made enough improvements to have a much better season than last year. However, there are still weaknesses that must be addressed if we want to have a chance to compete with the elite teams in the NFL. What do you see as the biggest weakness?