Thursday, April 18, 2024

Houston Texans Season Preview

The Houston Texans have had an interesting offseason, to say the least. GM-less and pretty obviously in “Win-now mode”, otherwise their unusual moves wouldn’t make sense. More on that later, let’s go back a year in our 2018 season recap.

Texans 2018 Season

It was a very Bill O’Brien season, the Texans won the AFC South for the 3rd time in 4 years, but went one and done in the Playoffs. The 2018 season was eventful to say the least.

They started 0-3, losing to New England, Tennessee and the New York Giants. Houston was looking anything but good, but that didn’t let it get to them and responded incredibly well with a meteoric rise, just like divisional rivals the Indianapolis Colts.

Their season was turned around by beating the Colts in Week 4, little did they know that would give them home-field advantage in the wildcard round. In that game, Quarterback Deshaun Watson threw for 2 TD’s as well as scoring 1 rushing touchdown, which helped the Texans to a 37-34 win in overtime. This started a 9 game winning streak, with some fairly impressive wins along the way.

Against Miami in Week 8, Watson threw for more touchdowns, 5, than incompletions, 4. That game saw the return of Brock Osweiler to Houston and an incredible DeAndre Hopkins catch (pictured below.) You can also watch the catch here!

As for the players, Jadeveon Clowney recorded 9 sacks and 16 tackles for loss, resulting in being named to his 3rd straight pro bowl. He played a huge part in that impressive pass defense, alongside JJ Watt. Those two are crucial to the Texans winning games, well they were anyway, more on that later!

Linebacker Benardrick McKinney recorded 105 tackles and defended 7 passes, resulting in him being named to play in his first pro bowl. He was part of an outstanding run defense that allowed only 3.5 yards per carry and allowing the fewest rushing yards allowed in team history. The overall defense also put up an impressive turnover differential of +13.

Lastly, DeAndre Hopkins had 115 receptions for 1572 yards, which is a pretty special tally, but then again he is the best receiver in the league, and in Madden. Following a strong season, Hopkins was awarded a perfect 99 rating in the football game produced by EA Sports. I’ll tell you what’s even more impressive, of Hopkins receptions, 81 were for first downs. He led the league in this stat, proving he really does help his team win games.

The 2018 season was an emotional rollercoaster for the fans in Houston, which came to an abrupt end, going one and done in the playoffs was an ironic end to a strange season. This odd aura still surrounds the Texans today, which leads me on nicely to the next segment.

So what’s changed (2019 Offseason)

The Texans fired GM Brian Gaine in June, trying to pursuit Nick Caserio from the New England Patriots. Unsurprisingly Caserio is still in New England today, leaving the Texans GM-less and Bill OBrien in complete charge off the team. This sprung about some interesting moves post-training camp, to say the least.

The biggest news was that Jadeveon Clowney wanted out, he refused to sign his franchise tag and refused to report to training camp. But way before all this drama was Free Agency. There were a few big losses on the defensive side of the ball. Safety Tyrann Mathieu‘s tenure in Houston only lasted 1 year, he moved on to Kansas City. The secondary depth was deflated even more with the losses of both Kareem Jackson and Andre Hal. Jackson will play his ball in Denver, whilst Hal retired. However, the Texans did replace those 3 DB’s with three other DB’s in Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Bradley Roby and Tashaun Gipson.

Next was the NFL Draft, the Texans selected;

  • Round 1, Pick 23 – Tytus Howard, OT – Alabama State
  • Round 2, Pick 22 – Lonnie Johnson, CB – Kentucky
  • Round 2, Pick 23 – Max Scharping, OL – Northern Illinois
  • Round 3, Pick 22 – Kahale Warring, TE – San Diego State
  • Round 5, Pick 23 – Charles Omenihu, DE – Texas
  • Round 6, Pick 22 – Xavier Crawford, CB – Central Michigan
  • Round 7, Pick 6 – Cullen Gillaspia, FB – Texas A&M

Trade Chaos

To finish up on this Houston Texans Season Preview, there was utter chaos caused by the Texans need for starters at two positions. A running back after Lamar Miller was announced as out for the season, and placed on IR, and a left tackle.

Just one week before the regular season was set to begin, so only a few days ago, the Houston Texans were very active on the trade market. Firstly, big news, Clowney got out. He was traded to Seattle for a 2020 third-round pick and linebackers Barkevious Mingo and Jacob Collins. This is a major F for Houston, but he wanted out.

One team that wanted Clowney was the Miami Dolphins, they even met with him. But it was pretty evident Clowney didn’t like the current state of the Dolphins, but then again, who wouldn’t.

But the Texans and Miami weren’t done. Miami is in rebuild mode, whilst Houston is in win-now mode. The Texans, in need of an offensive tackle, were after the best young tackle in football, Laremy Tunsil, for a good few months. As time went by, rumors started to spread on the Miami side, unsettling Tunsil. But Miami wanted to keep hold of Tunsil unless a very high price was paid. Well, the Texans were desperate and met the Dolphins high asking price of 2 first-round picks. But even then, that wasn’t enough, so the Texans sent an extra second-round pick for veteran receiver Kenny Stills. Yet again, the Texans came off worse in this trade, giving the rebuilding Dolphins even more draft capital. You cand find out more about these two in my State of the Dolphins Offense article, here.

Wait, there’s more! Over the course of training camp and preseason, the Texans also added two running backs, in Duke Johnson and Carlos Hyde as well as yet another defensive back in Keion Crossen.

So, to finalise…

The Houston Texans had an absolutely bonkers offseason, giving up a tonne of future draft picks, showing that Houston are 100% in win-now mode, boosted by Andrew Luck’s retirement and Deshaun Watson being on a rookie deal. Will it work? I don’t know!

Literally anyone can win the AFC South now, proving it’s a real dog fight. Realistically I’d say we could either see them go 5-11 or 11-5. Too much has gone on for an average season. That’s all for this preview, good luck to the Texans!

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