Can the Houston Texans do what the reigning AFC South champions did in 2017 and go from last to first? What five questions must the team answer?
By all indications, the Houston Texans appear to be a very popular choice when it comes to a team going from last to first in their division. It all came apart for Bill O’Brien’s club this past year. A shaky start behind center forced a quarterback change – one that showed amazing promise when it came to the immediate future. But injuries took a major toll on this club this past season as seemingly every week a frontline player went down.
The results were a 4-12 showing and a spot in the basement of the AFC South – this after winning back-to-back division titles from 2015-16. However it’s a new year and some of the key performers that missed substantial time in ‘17 are very healthy.
So what issues must the Texans resolve over the next month or so if they are to be a playoff contender once again? There’s only so much you can do about health. But this is a club that quietly added some depth via free agency and the draft.
5. Who emerges as Houston’s top tight end?
The offseason retirement of C.J. Fiedorowicz, limited to only five games this past season, made this an area of concern for Texans general manager Brian Gaine. Remember, this was a team did not have a first- or second-round draft choice in April. But the club address the tight end position twice in Day 3, adding Jordan Akins (Central Florida) and Jordan Thomas (Mississippi State) in the third- and sixth-round, respectively.
In 2016, Fiedorowicz finished second on the club with 54 receptions – four for touchdowns. This past year, he (14), Stephen Anderson (25) and 2013 sixth-round pick Ryan Griffin (13) combined for 52 catches and two scores. Giving quarterback Deshaun Watson another playmaker underneath would make this attack even more dangerous than some may believe it already has the potential to be. That being said, Griffin figures to be the main man here. But Thomas offers intriguing size (6’6”, 265) and could bear watching as time wears on.