Over the course of 32 days (or so) I will be previewing all 32 NFL teams, followed by an overall season prediction post, leading up to the start of the 2014 season. This post is previewing the Houston Texans.
The Texans won their first two games of the 2013 season, then lost their next 14 for a final record of 2-14. While finishing the season with the league’s worst record isn’t good, it does mean you get the first pick in the draft. For the Texans, that means adding LB Jadeveon Clowney to the defense. As you would expect from a two-win team, there are new faces in the coaching staff with rookie head coach Bill O’Brien and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel.
The quarterback position was one of the low spots for the team last year, throwing more interceptions (22) than touchdowns (19). Fourteen of those interceptions were thrown by Matt Schaub, who is now with the Raiders. Injuries limited starting RB Arian Foster to just eight games, rushing for 542 yards and one touchdown. WR Andre Johnson was the team’s best offensive performer, with over 1400 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Rookie WR DeAndre Hopkins showed some promise with 50 receptions for just over 800 yards and a couple of scores. On the defensive side of the ball, star DE J.J. Watt had 10.5 sacks, essentially half of his total from the year before.
With Schaub out of the picture, Ryan Fitzpatrick, who signed with the Texans in the offseason after spending last season with the Titans, is expected to be the starting quarterback when the season begins. The other quarterbacks on the roster are Case Keenum and fourth-round draft pick Tom Savage. With last year’s backup RB Ben Tate now in Cleveland, the backs behind Foster on the depth chart in training camp include Jonathan Grimes, Ronnie Brown and Alfred Blue.
While the Texans should be better than a two-win team this year, they likely won’t match their 10- or 12-win totals from 2011 and 2012, respectively. Besides their divisional games, the Texans’ schedule includes road games against the Cowboys and Steelers and home games against the likes of the Eagles and Ravens.