For Week 9, Marshall Faulk wants to know:
Being GMC Professional Grade is about recognizing those who changed the game. Go back in history and select one former great—just one. Now add him to your team’s roster right now. Who would it be—and why? And how far does your team go this year, with that one player?
First, let's assume that we are talking about getting a historic player in their prime. While the Texans don't have as many years as other NFL teams from which to draw a great player out of history, there are at least ten players who come to mind that would make an immediate impact on the current roster:
- OLB Connor Barwin
- TE Owen Daniels
- CB Aaron Glenn
- FB Vonta Leach
- CB Dunta Robinson
- MLB DeMeco Ryans
- QB Matt Schaub
- DE Antonio Smith
- RB Domanick [Davis] Williams
- DE Mario Williams
Given the current struggles at the quarterback position, I think Matt Schaub (in his prime) would make the biggest positive impact on the Texans' 2014 season. In fact, I'd argue Schaub could help get Houston to the divisional round of the playoffs. However, we still have too many issues along the offensive line, inside linebacker, and defensive secondary to get to the AFC Championship, even in this hypothetical scenario.
DeMeco Ryans would be my second choice, as he would immediately bolster the center of the field, where the Texans are weakest on defense. We'll get a chance to see him in action this Sunday when the Eagles come to NRG Stadium. We definitely miss ol' Captain 'Meco!
I can't even imagine what it would look like to have Mario Williams, Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt lining up together at the same time. Nonetheless, I'm going to pause and consider that carnage for a few moments before I continue this article....
Was it good for you too? Getting Mario back to Houston in his prime on this roster would possibly be enough to overpower even the inept NFL officials who fail to call holding so often. Nobody can double-team all three of these powerful pass rushers. The Texans would probably be able to set an NFL record for number of shutouts in a single season! Oh, well. We can dream at least.
Speaking of pass rushers, Connor Barwin is having a pretty solid year right now with 6 sacks, 2 passes defended, and 1 forced fumble so far. He would be a welcome improvement on the outside as Jadeveon Clowney is still recovering from his knee surgery, and Whitney Mercilus and Brooks Reed continue to be mostly average in their role with a few exceptions in a couple of games. In real life, Barwin will join DeMeco Ryans this Sunday as the Eagles come to Houston to try and take Ryan Fitzpatrick's lunch money, candy, and pride.
I would seriously consider TE Owen Daniels, but Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn't seem to care about throwing to tight ends. Daniels is having a good, albiet injury-marred, season with the Ravens, averaging 10.2 yards per catch and has three touchdowns in eight games. In his prime years with the Texans, OD was an incredible receiving threat and solid blocker.
Dunta Robinson and Aaron Glenn would both be upgrades to our current secondary; they could help to stifle the big plays that tend to get the Texans in trouble. In their prime, they could shut down their area of the field to give the pass rush time to be effective. It would be very interesting to see one of them out there with Kareem Jackson and Johnathan Joseph in nickel and dime packages.
Vonta Leach and Antonio Smith would certainly be massive upgrades for Houston, but I'm not convinced it would change the outcome of this season very much. The same could be said for Domanick [Davis] Williams, although he could give Arian Foster much needed rest between plays. Domanick held most of Houston's rushing records until Foster's emergence. Steve Slaton might also be an interesting addition to this list at running back, but he was never the same after that neck injury and his one great season. If Foster can keep up his current pace, it could be a record season for him; so any historic running back returning to action would be an excessive luxury.
Seth Payne and Amobi Okoye would have made the list if I didn't cut it off at ten. Both of them would be upgrades to the current defensive line, as we haven't had a defensive tackle like either of these two in a long time. Hopefully Louis Nix III will get healthy for next year and mature into the NT we have been desperately needing. Meanwhile, Ryan Pickett is anchoring the center of the line for now and getting much deserved praise from Bill O'Brien.
Alright, folks. Time for you to vote and share your thoughts on which former Houston player YOU think would be the best to bring back from the Texans' brief history to join this current roster. Tell us why and how far the Texans would get this season if it were possible.