Houston Texans: DeAndre Hopkins departure isn’t as bad as it sounds

Former Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Former Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

Houston Texans’ nation was shocked when Bill O’Brien pulled the trigger on the DeAndre Hopkins’ trade. Here’s why it’s not as bad as it sounds. Let’s look.

Bill O’Brien broke Houston Texans fans’ hearts when he traded away DeAndre Hopkins. How do you replace the best wide receiver in the NFL? Why should fans be optimistic about the team going forward?

In mid-March, the Houston Texans and head coach/general manager O’Brien did the unthinkable and sent the city of Houston into a frenzy as he pulled the trigger, on what seems on its surface, as a trade that will doom the franchise for years to come.

In an offseason in which the team should’ve been building around their stars, O’Brien did the exact opposite and truly did something that defines the phrase “addition by subtraction.”  Houston traded the best wideout in the NFL, DeAndre Hopkins and a fourth-round pick to the Arizona Cardinals for running back David Johnson and a couple of draft picks.

As horrible of trade as that seems, I promise that this could benefit the Houston Texans, and I will give you four reasons why.

For starters, two words. David Johnson. Granted, you look at the 28-year-old running back’s numbers from last year, and in no means are they eye-popping, but you also have to factor in a few things. Johnson was sidelined due to unlucky circumstances. Johnson suffered an ankle injury and proceeded to watch Chase Edmonds rush for 126 yards and three touchdowns against the Giants. Shortly after, the Cardinals brought in Kenyan Drake and the rest is history.

With a whole offseason to recover from his ankle injury and gain his explosiveness back, Johnson is in a great position to bounce back and regain his all-pro form. Johnson will also be running behind an offensive line that led the way for Carlos Hyde to achieve his first ever 1000-yard season on the ground.

Not to mention, with Duke Johnson also in the rotation, rookie offensive coordinator Tim Kelly has been on record saying that he will utilize both backs on the field at once. That means a lot of nightmare matchups for defenses, specifically linebackers.

But How do you replace the best receiver in the NFL? You add a speed. A lot of it. Already having Will Fuller, Kenny Stills, and Keke Coutee on the roster, O’Brien signed former pro-bowler Randall Cobb and traded for Brandin Cooks.

This will give quarterback Deshaun Watson five receivers that can help stretch the field and win

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one on one matchups. Anyone that watched the offense last year noticed that it seemed very scarce that Watson wouldn’t look to Hopkins as his main target. In 2020, you will see a more evenly distributed passing game.

Speaking of the new-look offense, with Hopkins gone and these new additions here, O’Brien has officially decided to give up play-calling to Tim Kelly. Kelly, 33, served as the offensive coordinator for the past few years but never has officially called plays for the team.

With as many additions on the offensive side of the ball, it’s great that they’re coming in when new plays are being implemented. How different will the plays look under Kelly? That is yet to be seen, but I’m sure it’ll be a bit more vertical this year than O’Brien’s play calling.

Next. Texans: Signing Randall Cobb is a slap in the face to fans. dark

All these unknowns and brand new weapons lead me to my final reason, and it’s exactly that. The unknown. With a new offensive coordinator, new running back, a new core of receivers, an offensive line that continues to grow and improve coupled with a healthy Tytus Howard, there’s hope.  And for a Texans’ franchise that we haven’t felt that from in a long time, that’s something we can get behind.