Think about what the Houston Texans could have done in the playoffs if they had had better quarterback play?
The Texans, a team that finished 9–7 on the season had a devastating defense, a strong running game, and a standout wide receiver. Yet, quarterback play was probably the difference between them making it to the Super Bowl or challenging to get there.
While everybody talks about how great the New England Patriots were, the Texans were handicapped by the person behind center. Now all that changes.
With the 12th pick in the NFL draft, the Houston Texans selected Deshaun Watson, quarterback from Clemson. And in the blink of an eye, what seemed to be the team’s biggest weakness has become one of the most anticipated strengths of this franchise. If Watson, who won a national title last year with the Clemson Tigers, becomes this year’s Dak Prescott – and there is a lot to like about his game – New England and the rest of the NFL should be put on notice.
The Houston Texans go into training camp as one of the favorites to win the AFC South. They will receive a challenge from Tennessee, and may be pushed by Jacksonville. I’m on record as saying I think the Tennessee Titans will win the division, but a changing of the guard behind center makes Houston one of those teams that could improve enough to reach the holy land.
Here are three pressing questions the Houston Texans must answer heading into training camp.
Will Deshaun Watson Win The Starting Job?
The Houston Texans did not trade the 27th pick in this year’s NFL Draft and their first pick next year for Watson to sit on the bench and wait. The only problem is the coaching staff cannot throw him to the wolves if he isn’t ready.
Watson is the quarterback of the future for Houston, but Tom Savage will attempt to hold him off as long as possible. The thought of Watson and DeAndre Hopkins lighting up the scoreboard at Reliant Stadium has fans salivating. The Houston Texans fan base is hoping Watson becomes this year’s Dak Prescott.
Head Coach Bill O’Brien will watch Watson’s progress and made the decision – when it’s right – to send Watson in. If he wins the job in camp, the Texans will have to rely on the defense and the running game while he gets acclimated to the NFL game.
Is JJ Watt At Full Strength?
What amazes me is even without Watt last year, the defense was phenomenal. Thank Whitney Mercilus and Jadevon Clowney for that.
If Watt is back to his menacing self, this is a team that can go to the Super Bowl. Back injuries are nothing to take lightly and since he had surgery to fix the problem, the Texans are hoping he can still do everything he did before he was injured. Event 75-percent of Watt on the field is better than almost every defensive player in the NFL.
But it is not just the back that should concern the Houston Texans. He has had groin and hand issues and a myriad of injuries in the past. Still, in seven years in the league, he has established himself as the best out there – when he is healthy. This is a defense with Watt out on the field that could rival Steelers and Ravens teams of the past.
Will The Texans Miss AJ Bouye?
Yes, but this is a solid secondary nonetheless.
The team lost Bouye to the Jacksonville Jaguars and safety Quintin Demps to the Chicago. Still, the Texans allowed 202 yards of passing offense per contest.
The success of Bouye, who was an undrafted free agent in 2013 out of UCF, is one of the great stories of 2016 and yielded him a huge free agent deal. You don’t just replace him in the lineup. The front seven will have to play better and the safeties on the roster will have to step up. The Jaguars and Titans figure to throw big wide receivers at them four times this season.
The Houston Texans have three safeties they like in Andre Hal, Corey Moore and K.J. Dillon.