Anyone who’s seen the movie "The Program" remembers that iconic question from Coach Winters.
With all the news lately of injured Texans, it got me wondering where our critical mass is. As in, how many players can go down before the team as a whole can no longer play competitively?
I stumbled across a quote the other day about last year’s Baltimore Ravens losing several key players to injury and ultimately finishing 5-11.
With the latest update about J.J. Watt and the speculation he could possibly miss the first two games of the regular season, the uncertainty about when Nick Martin will return, questions about Duane Brown and Derek Newton's availability, and the ever-present concern that any other key player could get hurt at any moment, it really got me wondering.
Jadeveon Clowney’s knee is obviously still not 100%. Brian Cushing, Johnathan Joseph, and Kareem Jackson have been healthy for some time, but will that streak continue through all sixteen games and deep into the postseason?
If this team is healthy as a whole, and if a few calls go our way, and if every man on the team gives his all, all the time, the Texans actually have a legitimate shot at being the first team to win a Super Bowl in their home stadium.
However, in the world of the NFL, as the Ravens found out last year, all it takes is a handful of guys to go down and suddenly things spiral out of control.
Looking through the roster, here’s where we seem to land:
QB, RB & WR – Tom Savage and Brandon Weeden can win games if Brock Osweiler goes down. The running backs and wide receivers are deep enough to overcome a key injury. No real worries here.
Offensive and defensive lines – as the saying goes, it all starts in the trenches. I can’t recall a Super Bowl champion that played with a patchwork offensive line. Other than last year’s Broncos, I can’t recall a winner with a bad line. Since we’re already thin on offense, this appears to be the Achilles' heel of the 2016 Houston Texans.
Linebackers and DBs – while the Texans have a variety of choices for these roles, a loss of Cushing, Joseph, Mercilus or Jackson would hurt (no pun intended). Particularly if J.J. Watt isn’t back to his full off-the-charts self or the guy mirroring him on the other side of Vince Wilfork never gets up to the level this defense needs.
So what do you think? How many injuries can this team absorb before the ship takes on water? Let us know in the comments below as we await tonight’s game and pray no one gets hurt against the Saints.
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