— The Sports Xchange —
The Texans had a miserable season plagued by injuries, including the losses of quarterback Deshaun Watson, defensive end J.J. Watt, linebacker Whitney Mercilus, center Nick Martin, running back D’Onta Foreman and a 10-game performance-enhancing drug policy suspension for Brian Cushing.
This disaster following two consecutive AFC South division titles was a 4-12 campaign that ended with a six-game losing streak and nine losses in the final 10 games. The Texans couldn’t stop the pass without a consistent pass rush or pass coverage, falling to last in the NFL in points allowed after finishing first in total defense the previous year.
The offense didn’t have a consistent running game once Watson got hurt. The Texans are expected to retain head coach Bill O’Brien with a new contract extension despite the downward spiral. Executive vice president Rick Smith is no longer the general manager because he’s taking a leave of absence to care for his wife as she battles breast cancer. The Texans are in major flux and entering an uncertain offseason.
Owner Bob McNair planned on hiring and on Jan. 13 former Buffalo Bills executive Brian Gaine was hired.
The Texans need to upgrade their offensive line and secondary. They may need four new starters on the offensive line and as many as three new defensive backs. This is a team that could potentially have a quick turnaround once they are fully healthy, but there are roster deficiencies that are fairly obvious, too.
WHAT WENT RIGHT: Pro-Bowl wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins led the NFL with 13 touchdown catches and was one of the most dangerous players in the NFL. Hopkins is a master of the toe-tap catch along the sideline. Pro-Bowl outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney, despite double-team blocking, had a career-high 9.5 sacks and 20 tackles for losses.
WHAT WENT WRONG: Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson tore his ACL when he was on pace for 43 touchdown passes. The Texans never recovered from his loss. J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus were ruled out for the season during the same drive against the Kansas City Chiefs. The lack of a pass rush affected the defense in a major way.