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Houston Texans 2017 Season Preview




Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Posted on 8/6/2017.


Houston Texans Free Agency Recap


Houston is probably the one team I previewed s far that didn't make at least one key addition in Free Agency. They chose to build through the NFL Draft once again.



Houston Texans Draft Recap


The Texans traded Brock Osweiler to Cleveland and threw in a 2018 second round pick just so the Browns could take Osweiler off their hands. Houston drafted Deshaun Watson at 12 by sending the 25th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft and a 2018 first rounder to make a huge splash by trading up for the Clemson quarterback that led Clemson to a second Championship in FBS history after defeating Alabama to win this years College Football Playoff. Watson's teammate Carlos Watkins was a fourth round pick too.




Houston Texans Quarterback Summary: Tom Savage and Deshaun Watson are both pushing each other for the starting job. Tom Savage is the favorite though and it still seems to be that way. Head coach Bill O'Brien remains the head coach and took over for their offensive coordinator who also was the teams quarterbacks coach. Sean Ryan who was Houston's wide receivers coach, but now he's going to be Houston's quarterback's coach. Ryan coached both quarterbacks and wide receivers on the New York Giants.


Houston Texans Running Back Summary: Lamar Miller is the only talented running back on this roster. I don't trust backup Alfred Blue, third stringer D'Onta Foreman, a rookie third round pick out of Texas, after his arrest off the field for marijuana, or Tyler Ervin. Lamar Miller saved Charles London's job as the running backs coach on this Houston Texans team.


Houston Texans Wide Receiver Summary: Houston has DeAndre Hopkins as a #1 receiver. Will Fuller broke his collarbone. Now you have Braxton Miller and Jaelen Strong competing fo rthe #2 receiver job instead of the slot with Fuller's injury. Teams are going to double team Hopkins once again now thanks to this injury. Houston has incredible depth at wide receiver. It's not just that Bill O'Brien is awesome at developing wide receivers as Houston's head coach plus Sean Ryan, their quarterbacks coach specializes in this area along with John Perry who is moving from tight ends coach to wide receivers coach. They hired Wes Welker as an offensive assistant, but he'd be much better as a wide receiver.


Houston Texans Tight End Summary: Houston has one tight end they can rely on. That player is C.J. Fiedorowicz the former Iowa Hawkeye. I'm not sure if Ryan Griffin is the right answer as a backup tight end. I think Houston can upgrade over him.


Houston Texans Offensive Line Summary: Houston has not seen Duane Brown practice at left tackle. Right tackle Derek Newton is on injured reserve again too. This is one reason why the Texans need to sit Deshaun Watson the entire season and let him develop. Houston may not have stable offensive tackles in place until 2019 if they ignore this area in Free Agency next year since the Texans do not have a draft pick in the first two rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft.


Xavier Su'a Filo is a good starting left guard. Nick Martin will start at center with Jeff Allen entering his second year as Houston's right guard. Houston needs this interior offensive line to step up and make things easier for the running game.


Mike Devlin enters his third year as the Texans offensive line coach. Devlin created an awesome run blocking scheme with the New York Jets for many years and brought that concept to Houston.


The Texans were 28th in points per game, 29th in total yards, 29th in passing yards, and 8th in rushing yards in 2016 under Mike Devlin's run blocking scheme once they got a reliable running back in Lamar Miller. Outside of Mike Devlin, I don't truest a single offensive coach on this entire staff including head coach Bill O'Brien.



Houston Texans Defensive Line Summary: Houston will have Jadeveon Clowney at 3-4 right end adn J.J. Watt at 3-4 left end. D.J. Reader plays nose tackle with 2017 fourth round pick Carlos Watkins, a guy I had a first round grade on being the backup nose tackle.


Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel specialized in developing defensive linemen as a defensive line coach and now he's the assistant head coach on this team. Anthony Weaver is a solid defensive line coach as well so hopefully these two can coach up Houston's backup defensive ends because the Texans are in a tough situation in that regard.


Houston Texans Linebacker Summary: Houston needs 3-4 right outside linebacker. Whitney Mercilus is gonna get hurries only due to having the NFL's best 5-technique tandem with Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt. Brian Cushing and Bernardrick McKinney start at 3-4 middle linebacker. Houston added Zach Cunningham out of of Vanderbilt in the 2017 NFL Draft to compliment both inside linebackers in the second round. Mike Vrabel is taking over for Crennel at defensive coordinator. Bobby King is the new linebackers coach.


Houston Texans Defensive Backs Summary: Houston has a great cornerback situation. Kareem Jackson starts at field cornerback with Jonathan Joseph complimenting him at boundary cornerback. Kevin Johnson is a nickel cornerback, but he had so many deflections as a rookie coming out of Wake Forest before dealing with injuries in 2016. A.J. Bouye went from a dime corner to a guy that got a huge contract due to stepping in and dominating when injuries occurred. To make matters worse Houston still doesn't have a starting safety. Quintin Demps had 1 good season which got him a huge contract. K.J. Dillon takes over for him at strong safety and Andre Hal isn't much better at free safety.


Houston does not have a defensive backs coach. Houston's safety play was better than I expected last year, but I think that will be a liability this season.


The Texans began the year first in sacks, but finished 25th in sacks after J.J. Watt suffered a season ending injury last season. Houston was 11th in points allowed, 10th in total yards allowed, 2nd in pass defense, and 12th in run defense in 2016. Houston dominated in a lot of categories last year. I'm not sure they maintain that kind of success. I think the sacks and run defense can improve under Mike Vrabel though.



Houston Texans Special Teams Summary: Houston has a reliable special teams. Nick Novak at kicker, Shane Lechler at punter, and Tyler Ervin as a return specialist. I like Larry Izzo as a linebackers coach, but I'm not sure he has special teams coordinator credentials. He did win a fourth Super Bowl as the Giants special teams coordinator so I'll give Izzo the benefit of the doubt with such a reliable special teams unit to work with.




Houston Texans Worst Case Scenario: The Houston Texans go 5-11 and have a rough year. Bill O'Brien gets fired as a result.


Houston Texans Best Case Scenario: Houston goes 11-5 and manages to win the AFC South again. They finish so well due to their play on defense.


Houston Texans 2017 NFL Schedule


Week
Date
Opponent
Time
Cable Network
Result
Week 1
September 10
VS
1 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 2
September 14
AT
1 EST
CBS
W
Week 3
September 24
AT
1 PM EST
CBS
L
Week 4
October 1
VS
1 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 5
October 8
VS
8:30 PM EST
NBC
W
Week 6
October 15
VS
1 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 7
Bye Week
Week 8
October 29
AT
4:05 PM EST
CBS
L
Week 9
November 5
VS
1 PM EST
CBS
L
Week 10
November 12
AT
4:05 PM EST
CBS
L
Week 11
November 19
VS
1 PM EST
FOX
W
Week 12
November 27
VS
8:30 PM EST
ESPN
L
Week 13
December 3
AT
1 PM EST
CBS
L
Week 14
December 10
VS
1 EST
FOX
W
Week 15
December 17
AT
1 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 16
December 25
VS
4:25 PM EST
NBC
L
Week 17
December 31
AT
1 EST
CBS
L


Houston Texans 2017 Projected Record (8-8): Houston has an easy start to the season. They could start 5-1 with one loss to New England heading into their bye week. After that they get Seattle on the road following a bye week and the Colts at home. How the Texans do in those two games will determine whether or not they can repeat as division champs since we have them losing both of those games.


We tweaked our AFC South quite a few times. The Indianapolis Colts won this division at 12-4. The Tennessee Titans got the first wild card at 10-6. Houston finished 8-8 on the outside looking in. Jacksonville went 7-9. Expect this division to be more competitive than people realize.









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