How ’bout dem
Cowboys Texans, ay? Every season it’s been a case of “great D, shame about the QB”. Houston might have the best, All American defensive end to appear in a Papa Johns commercial or Bad Moms, but the Bayou City has never quite landed a star quarterback. David Carr? Broken. Matt Schaub? Functional yet dead eyed. Warren Moon? Ok, yes, but technically a different Houston football team.
Things could be different in 2017 though. Enter Deshaun “Son of Watt” Watson, the 12th overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, the championship winning Clemson QB with an offensive MVP award to his name. This season The Texans are serious about the quarterback position. How could things be any better? Well, they also offloaded Brock Osweiler to the Browns!
Watson will need weapons, and Houston have had their guns loaded for a few seasons now. Receiving talent doesn’t get much better than DeAndre Hopkins, whether we’re talking fantasy football stats or spectacular one handed catches in the real world. Will Fuller remains a talent with great potential, Braxton Miller and Jaelen Strong were exciting draft picks from previous years never truly given the chance to shine with a mostly ‘armless set of quarterbacks, then there’s ex-Cowboy Devin Street recently claimed off waivers by Houston. Put simply, The Texans aren’t short of people who can catch a ball, even J.J. likes to get in on the game.
The run game has always been a strength of Houston, and looks set to continue so. Lamar Miller put up a solid season last year, limited only by a box stacked against him. With an improved passing game, Miller’s threat can only grow, bolstered further by 3rd round pick D’Onta Foreman as RB2, who should serve as a better backup than Alfred “Fucking” Blue.
Watts up with that Houston D? If Houston’s known for anything, it’s that D. Leading the league in 2016 for yards allowed – a mere 301 yds per game – Houston just need to cut down on the point giveaways. Keeping the offense on the field for longer should help. A healthy Jadeveon Clowney standing next to a recovered J.J. Watt might also help a bit too. For any American readers, that last sentence was an example of British understatement. Expect opposing quarterbacks to tremble this season, lack of injuries permitting.
So where could it go wrong and why aren’t we already calling The Texans “The Patriots of the South”? Aside from the risk of Deshaun Watson’s rookie QB season, the Houston O-Line could use improvement. A couple of additions from the draft – OT Julie’n Davenport and “yet another” Centre Kyle Fuller provide extra flesh to improve pass blocking. No dramatic improvements though, and it remains to be seen how big an impact a mediocre O-Line had on past, now dead and forgotten QBs.
Gridiron is a game of strategy though, right? Bill O’Brien arrived in Houston like a hero three seasons ago, billed as Belichick’s Prodigal Son. His experience as the Patriot’s QB coach and offensive coordinator may have seemed somewhat invisible the last few seasons, but O’Brien is certainly creative – remember when J.J. Watt stepped up as running back, or that time Ryan Mallett convinced some people he was an NFL quarterback?
So Texan fans have a lot to look forward to this season. A potential, possibly not awful new QB. Receivers with a ball to catch. A healthy Watt & Clowney sandwich. Two free wins against the Jags each season. Not forgetting the best BBQ in, well frankly, the world. Sure, they’ve got road games in New England and Seattle, and The Titans are looking worryingly competent, but don’t kill the vibe, 2017 is set to be the year of Watt & Watson. At least in H-Town.