Our friends at numberFire recently published a piece detailing which five NFL offenses should be the most improved in 2016, and guess what? Your Houston Texans made the list. Here's what Austan Kas had to say:
No team added more offensive talent this offseason -- through the draft and free agency -- than Houston.
The Texans won the AFC South last year in spite of their offense. In fact, Houston’s offense, which ranked 25th in Adjusted NEP per play, was the worst offense of any 2015 playoff team. The Texans overcame their offensive inefficiencies thanks to their menacing defense, which ranked third in Adjusted Defensive NEP per play.
Kas goes on to note that Brock Osweiler was actually worse than Brian Hoyer last year in the all-too-familiar statistic of "Passing Net Expected Points Per Drop Back." Although using that particular metric may qualify as new, the idea of HOYER > OSWEILER is something we've read countless times since Osweiler chose to come to Houston four months ago. I realize that analysis of certain statistics can justify that opinion, and I'm hesitant to simply dismiss the argument outright, especially because I don't expect Osweiler to just light the league up from Week One on.
Despite the fact that the data from Osweiler's regular season performance isn't voluminous in size, I find it difficult to fathom that he'll be consistently worse, on balance, than Brian Hoyer was last year. A cursory look at Hoyer's stats as a Texan may give the appearance that he was competent, but I don't think any Texans fan who actually watched the games ever felt confident that Hoyer wasn't on the cusp of making a disastrous mistake, particularly against decent teams. And that's not even taking into account the truly historic nature of Hoyer's playoff performance against the Chiefs.
Kas ultimately concludes:
Even if Osweiler struggles, Miller should be a big upgrade over Alfred Blue in the run game. Among backs with 100 carries last year, Miller ranked 17th in Rushing NEP per play. Blue was 39th in this metric.
Houston showed it can win without a great offense, so if Osweiler can provide the Texans with just average quarterback play, they can be a real contender in the AFC. If he gives them above-average play, Houston could be one of the best teams in the NFL.
Fair? Unfair? Missing something? Discuss in the Comments below.