(May 8, 2014 - Source: Bob Levey/Getty Images North America)
(May 8, 2014 – Source: Bob Levey/Getty Images North America)

Can a team that was a serious contender two years ago rebound after a shocking 2-14 season? The Houston Texans have many questions that have to be answered.

There is a new head coach, Bill O’ Brien, succeeding Gary Kubiak. He is an offensive mind and well-regarded. It was a needed change because the team played terrible, and there seemed to be little effort down the stretch last season.

The biggest problem for the team is at quarterback. Matt Schaub has been dumped and is now in Oakland. Houston signed Ryan Fitzpatrick presumably to be the starter next season. He would be a “bridge starter,” nothing more. O’Brien and general manager Rick Smith drafted Tom Savage in the fourth round to potentially be the long-term solution at the position.

Savage at the moment looks like the classic workout warrior that increased his stock by looking good in shorts. This is not a knock on him. To be fair, he has huge arm strength. Under a coach like O’Brien, he can improve his mechanics and footwork. O’Brien did very good work with Christian Hackenberg when he was at Penn State. That work should show itself in time for Savage. There was also another problem for the team that reared its ugly head.

Defense is also a question for the Texans. The special teams unit was terrible last season. Houston gave up too many leads and went 2-7 in games decided by less than a touchdown. Wade Phillips’ schemes didn’t work and he has been replaced by Romeo Crennel, who is installing a 3-4 scheme. Many of the players from the 2012 team are still there, it may be a case of needing a fresh start.

Of course, the Texans had the No.1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. They selected Jadeveon Clowney, defensive end out of South Carolina. Clowney is a great athlete and has flashed his game changing potential at times. He has been accused of taking plays off. With J.J. Watt mentoring him, he’ll learn from one of the best players in the league. He should be able to reach his considerable promise at some point. It would be one of the best edge-rushing tandems in the NFL.

This team is interesting because it could be a case where the team just stopped listening to the coach and needed a change. Fitzpatrick as the starter is troubling because he is mediocre at best. You will win only a handful of games with him. The situation with Andre Johnson also has to be resolved.

Can the Texans rebound? It may be a year or more before this retooling works.

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