The Houston Texans are good at quite a few things, one of which is staying relatively off the radar. There isn’t a ton of news going on in Houston’s offseason, the drama is fairly minimal (especially when paired next to Tom Brady’s team), and the stars shine just quite enough to get sufficient, but not overwhelming attention.
Training camp is the hottest in the league, but the guys are there to work hard, that’s it. But a quiet offseason leaves room for a lot of unanswered questions by the fans and the rest of the NFL.
Texans fans are now needy girlfriends when it comes to their beloved team. They’ve won the division title two straight years – it’s time to up the ante and get that engagement ring (also known as a trip to MetLife Stadium in February).
This football season has been dubbed by virtually everyone as the all-or-nothing season for the Texans. It’s like taking your girlfriend on a romantic vacation to Bora Bora – you better end that vacation on one knee and be ready to take your relationship to the next level.
Do or die. Marry me or I freak out. Super Bowl or bust.
For the Texans to get on that bended knee (aka get to the Super Bowl for those not following my ongoing analogies), there are a few things we must settle:
1. The Secondary. The Texans are slated to take on a ton of elite QBs this year – Manning, now in his second and stronger season after neck surgery, the always impressive Brady, Andrew Luck who is no longer a rookie, not to mention other new big names like Russell Wilson and the hot-bodied Colin Kapernick.
Last season the Texans were just 16th against the pass giving up an average of 225.8 yards/game. That’s right in the middle of the pack, neither great, nor bad.
If you dated a girl that was just average, does that scream engagement ring to you? I think not…
2. Injuries. I hate talking about them, but they’re a big deal for any team. Star safety Ed Reed is still battling his hip injury (which he blames Tom Brady for), Foster isn’t currently taking reps, the status on Posey remains unknown and others are popping up.
“That’s part of football, so we’ll get them healthy and get them back out here,” Kubiak said after practice Wednesday afternoon.
Can the rest of this team stay healthy? This is single-handedly one of the most annoying things sports media folks talk about incessantly, and here I am talking about it. Awesome.
With 52 guys on a roster, and 300+lb men slamming their hard bodies into other 300+lb men, it’s inevitable injuries are going to happen. A lot. When guys are bobbing and weaving at unfathomable speeds and jumping over bodies, helmets, and cleats, odds are, someone’s going to get hurt. Probably a lot of someone’s, unfortunately.
3. Along with injuries come detailed conversations of the depth chart – that’s a big concern for Houston – do we have the depth to take over when our starters find themselves in the locker room getting looked at by medical personnel?
In relationships, backups and second strings aren’t looked at very fondly, but this is football and it’s all part of the game. (Seriously, never tell your girlfriend you have a backup though.)
4. Then comes the Schaub inquisition. Can he lead this all-star team the way they need to be led on the field? His numbers are fairly average, coming in 11th with a passer rating of 90.7 and throwing for 4,008 yards last season.
Last season, Schaub tied for 15th in touchdown passes (22) while ranking sixth in completion percentage (64.3), throwing just 12 picks in 544 passes.
5. We all know Texas is a conservative state, but that doesn’t mean our football has to be. Nor should it be.
Kubiak needs to move on from his conservative play calls, especially when it comes to 3rd and long, where the Texans are tied for 31st at converting to first downs.
For a more intense look at the Texans 3rd and extra long play calls, take a look at this Ultimate Texans article.
It seems we may get some answers to quite a few of these nagging questions in Week 3 when the Texans take on the defending champions in Baltimore. Until then, it’s all speculation.
Make no mistake, this is a championship roster. More so than it’s ever been.
There’s just one thing missing from this relationship: an intimate postseason.
For those inquiring minds, Super Bowl odds for Houston are currently 14/1 according to the LVH Sports Book in Vegas.
Oh, and if the Texans do make the Super Bowl this year (which yours truly is in fact predicting), that would make them the first Texas football team to vie for the Tiffany & Co. Vince Lombardi trophy in 18 years.