The Houston Texans were able to capitalize on Andrew Luck having the worst season of his young career.
They ended the season on a three game winning streak and managed to finish 9-7 and earn a home playoff game during wild card weekend. However, their playoff history as a franchise hasn’t been very good.They were simply outmatched by the Kansas City Chiefs in every single area.
The Texans desperately missed Arian Foster who was injured again but DeAndre Hopkins turned himself into a top 5 wide receiver. Brian Hoyer isn’t bad but if they can upgrade, the Texans can become title contenders.
STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
Running back, wide receiver, defense
The Texans had a tough time trying to replace Arian Foster. Chris Polk, Alfred Blue and Jonathan Grimes did the best they could but the offense became very one dimensional. Arian Foster is still a very good running back when he can actually keep himself healthy.
Both he and the Texans need him to come back, especially as he approaches 30. He’ll only have a couple years left in his prime but Arian Foster is one of the main reasons they’ve been successful.
This category is devoted to one person, DeAndre Hopkins. The former Clemson standout deserves a ton of credit for what he accomplished in 2015. Hopkins had more than 1,500 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns without a star quarterback throwing him the ball.
He made plenty of highlight plays all season long and became the perfect replacement for Andre Johnson. They’ll still need to get him some help through the draft.
The Texans defense really picked things up during the second half of the season. They finished third in total defense, which is impressive considering the lack of production they had on offense. J.J. Watt put up 17.5 sacks despite getting double teamed every single game.
Bill O’Brien’s connection to the Patriots allowed for them to sign future hall-of-famer Vince Wilfork. Brian Cushing was finally healthy and his ability to lead the linebacking core made a big difference.
Their secondary was also underrated, veterans like Johnathan Joseph and Quentin Demps did a solid job. The Texans defense will be feared for years to come, especially if Jadaveon Clowney starts living up to the hype.
Brian Hoyer isn’t a bad quarterback and he’s been a great story in the NFL. He went from going undrafted, to being Tom Brady’s backup, to NFL starter. The problem is that he isn’t consistent enough and he can’t stay healthy for an entire season.
Ryan Mallett had every opportunity to be the starter full-time but he couldn’t even show up to practices and meetings on time. The Texans have all the components to be a great team. They managed to go 9-7 with four different starting quarterbacks this season. Imagine what they could do with real talent at quarterback.
PLAYERS TO RE-SIGN:
S Quentin Demps
WR Nate Washington
P Shane Lechler
K Nick Novak
RB Chris Polk
RB Jonathan Grimes
2016 FREE AGENT TARGETS ($27 MILLION PROJECTED CAP SPACE):
WR Alshon Jeffery
QB Sam Bradford
QB Kirk Cousins
TE Antonio Gates
LT Russell Okung
2016 NFL DRAFT FIRST ROUND TARGETS (NO. 22 PICK)
QB Paxton Lynch (Memphis)
QB Carson Wentz (North Dakota State)
RB Ezekiel Elliot (Ohio State)
DE Kevin Dodd (Clemson)
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