Bullheaded: Season Preview Headlines

The season is back and things could be looking up for the Texans. After a much publicized struggle for finding a quarterback, the team seems to have 2 viable options in the stable right now. The defense changed coordinators…somewhat. And now the team has to preapre for 2017 while the city is recovering from a historically devastating storm.

Is Deshaun Watson the Answer?

The Texans were tired of hearing about their struggles of finding a solid quarterback, so they thought they would risk their whole draft and shut people up. The team made a bold move in this year’s draft by trading up with the Cleveland Browns for the 16th spot and selecting former Clemson Tiger QB Deshaun Watson. It sent shock waves through the league on its opening night of the draft and some even proclaimed it as one of the best moves of the weekend. It’s hard not to consider it in that realm of possibility when the QB situation has been so dire.

Ironically, the Texans would trade with the Browns for this spot, since the QB carousel here in the last few years, has lamost rivaled Cleveland. Since Bill O’ Brien became the head coach in 2014, Houston has seen the miss on some hit-and-miss quarterbacks. Ryan Fitzpatrick seemed decent starting out but not solid enough. Brian Hoyer did not live up to the potential that O’ Brien apparently discovered from his days as a New England Patriot. Ryan Mallett couldn’t get out of 610 traffic and Brandon Weeden was…Brandon Weeden. We could just go ahead and forget about what Brock Osweiler wrote. The only QB to survive from the start of O’ Brien’s regime, is Tom Savage, who was drafted in the 4th round in the 2014 draft. However, injuries have kept him on the sideline but in the playbook this whole time.

Obviously, they have chosen Watson to become more than a clipboard holder but when will he get that shine. Savage has not had the opportunity to really show what he could do since he has been hurt. While that could lead to a lot of QB’s career derailment, the Texans don’t have a proven option that can cause that. What they have in Savage is a quarterback familiar with the playbook and a relationship with some of the receivers, including, the most important one at the moment, DeAndre Hopkins.  At 6’3 and 216, he has an average quarterback size, the mobility to extend plays and the maturity to settle for the checkdown option. Watson looked great this preseason in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, but half of those opponents are either not starting this season or might not be in the league after roster cuts. Savage has been declared the starter for the season opener, but the Texans’ QB questions will continued to be asked.

A Different Defense

The number one ranked defense surprisingly got a makeover this offseason on the field and on the sidelines. The team let go of A.J. Bouye as he signed to the Jacksonville Jaguars. In addition to that, there was a change in the coaching staff well. Mike Vrabel was promoted from linebackers coach to defensive coordinator; while Romeo Crennel, who previously held the DC position was promoted to associate head coach.

But the biggest change will be on the field when we finally see the dream pairing of J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney play alongside each other, possibly for the entire year. The last few seasons, either Watt or Clowney suffered some sort of injury, mostly the latter. In 2016, Clowney played a career high 14 games, but it was hampered by the fact that Watt suffered a nagging back injury in the 3rd game of the year and missed the rest of the season. Despite that, the Texans D still managed to beat up on a lot of offenses to pull off some close wins.

This year it could be a challenge given the change in coaching, and losing of key pieces, but the additions of others as well. In addition to Watt coming back, the Texans will see the return of cornerback Kevin Johnson, who was a promising young talent before he got hurt last year. For the most part, this is a young, talented and competitive group on the defensive side, and often helped keep the team in a few games last season. Even with slight improvement in the quarterback situation, there will still be a critical need to slow down some the offenses on this year’s schedule a lot better than last year.

Nuk got Paid; Can the team Cash in?

Well it looks like whoever is going to be the quarterback for the Texans, will have a strong target to throw to. The Texans have signed wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to a 5 year $81 million extension and it could not come at a better time. As repeatedly mentioned, there are now 2 strong choices at QB and this could mean more stats for the young deep threat.

But will this backfire for bringing in other players? Eventually, older players such as cornerback Jonathan Joseph and linebacker Brian Cushing will need to be replaced; possibly in the near future. Then there is the idea of paying Jadeveon Clowney depending on how his season goes. There is also going to be a 2nd wide receiver needed. Last and certainlly not least, what about the offensive line? Tackle Duane Brown is still on a holdout so there’s no indication if he will continue to hold out or likely sign, even as the season begins on Sunday. His position is critical for the blind side of quarterbacks who are fairly new to the game day situations with this team.

While Hopkins has put up numbers to become the highest paid receiver right now, Teams are going to design their gameplan often to take that status away from him. There is some young talent currently that can take that spot but they have to show  a little more production, especially in this season.

Hurricane Harvey Response

The impact of Hurricane Harvey has been felt across the coastal areas of Texas as well as the city of Houston. Much of the city was under water and it has displaced many residents into shelters in the city and around the state.  For many in the Texans organization, their minds have been more on the storm than what is actually happening on the football this preseason. Initially, the team was supposed to play the Dallas Cowboys for the preseason finale in NRG Stadium, but it was moved to At&T stadium because of the storm and eventually got cancelled.

The Texans seemed to have taken it upon themselves to uplift the spirit of the city in these troubling times. Head coach Bill O’ Brien announced in a press conference that the team would dedicate this season to the city of Houston. The team helped sort out donations that were brought in for flood evacuees. Nobody will ever forget the continuous rising donations set up by J.J. Watt which had brought in $17 million after a starting goal of $200,000. In terms of football, the Texans seem motivated as ever to go out and truly perform at a high level for this city. They do not appear to let the traumatizing effects of the storm get to their psyche, but still have the city in their thoughts and prayers.

Needless to say this will be an interesting season, in terms of seeing how things can go up. The fanbase is very excited about getting a potential franchise quarterback in the draft as well as having a possible win-now option on hand. Depending on the performance of the latter, it might cause for a slight controversy but it can not be any worse that has come under center for the last few seasons.

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