Number 4: Will Fuller’s Health
As much as I dislike to say it, this is the final year of Will Fuller in a Texans uniform if he doesn’t stay healthy. In the past two seasons, he has suffered five injuries and two of them needed surgery on as per Sports Injury Predictor.
Will Fuller and Deshaun Watson together are a lethal combination. In 11 games, the two have connected for exactly 11 touchdowns. Last year, Fuller racked up 502 yards on 32 receptions and four touchdowns, he also averaged 15.7 yards per catch.
Will Fuller was going to come into the season without a new deal but the Texans exercised $10.162 million option for 2020 back April 26. The team is hoping he can play a full season and can continue to be the deep threat that he was prior to his ACL tear.
Number 5: It’s make or break for Bill O’Brien
In January 2018, Rick Smith — who did not see eye-to-eye with O’Brien — left the organization for personal issues. After going through the hiring process, the Texans organization hired Brian Gaine from the Buffalo Bills to be the next GM of the team.
Gaine had a respectable free agency as he was able to bring Mathieu to Houston and sign Colvin away from the Jacksonville Jaguars. Gaine also had a great draft class as he selected Justin Reid + Jordan Akins in the 3rd and Duke Ejiofor + Jordan Thomas in the 6th. Akins and Thomas played throughout the season but Justin Reid has a chance to become one of the best safeties in the NFL.
The keyword from the O’Brien/Gaine pairing was alignment; however, this offseason that notion
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was fractured as Gaine was fired by the Texans in June. Reports indicate that Gaine was fired because he and O’Brien did not see eye to eye. The Texans will enter the 2019 season with no GM in place.
This is the most important season in Bill O’Brien NFL coaching career. He has to win now or else he will get sacked. His contract was extended last year because the franchise hoped he would replicate the success that he had with Deshaun Watson his rookie year. He has everything he wants in place and it’s worth noting that he won power struggles with two GM’s within a two-year time span that resulted with them leaving the franchise or getting fired.
There is absolutely no excuse to not win football games here. Tim Kelly is now the offensive coordinator and Romeo Crennel is back at defensive coordinator. Both are “O’Brien guys.” Before the excuse for O’Brien was “he did not have the proper QB talent.” Guess what Bill? You have Watson now who is ascending to superstar-elite level!
The fans have been calling for him to be fired for years and this is the season where he can prove that the fans were right or he can silence his critics and take the Texans places they’ve never been to.
The ball is in your zone, Bill.
So these are my five things to keep an eye on, do you agree? What would you add to this list? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below.