The Texans have all the ingredients for a great team in 2019, as well as one that should be great in the future. Defensive cornerstones, a franchise quarterback still on his rookie contract, a top three wide receiver in the prime of his career, other exciting young wideouts, cap space, draft capital intact, and the best run defense in football composed entirely of twenty-somethings when you remove J.J. Watt.
When I clicked this link to see ESPN’s list, I thought Houston would easily be in the top ten. Instead, they are 16th. The Texans are bogged down because of their offensive line, their middling head coach, and the fact that they don’t have general manager but an Article of Incorporation in place instead. Since we are talking future, I’d have the Texans higher than the Saints, Chargers, Vikings, or Steelers, but the article does make some valid points. Anyways, enough of me, this is what the professional football people at ESPN have to say about the Texans:
Why they’re here: An early playoff exit doused most of the good vibes of the Texans’ remarkable turnaround in 2018, but there are plenty of potent ingredients that could result in success moving forward. Deshaun Watson’s brilliance provides the largest beam of hope, as he bounced back from a torn ACL as a rookie to play all 16 games in 2018 and throw for more than 4,000 yards. The roster has top-tier talent in key spots, but the offensive line is a serious question mark, as much will be expected of first-round pick Tytus Howard. The largest question mark looming over the organization is the front office, as the Texans have a general manager vacancy after abruptly dismissing Brian Gaine. -- Yates
Biggest worry: When your offensive line is coming off a season in which it gave up 62 sacks and allowed a 41% pressure rate (both worst in the NFL), you know that fixing this unit is the top priority going forward if you are to have any chance. Firing the GM (Gaine) who was responsible for singing free-agent OT Matt Kalil and drafting OTs Howard and Max Scharping in the first and second rounds, respectively, doesn’t give me any confidence that this coaching staff and the front office are on the same page. That usually doesn’t bode well in terms of success on the field. Watson deserves better than what he has received in terms of protection, and if the players who were brought in can’t be developed or utilized properly, this team is in trouble. -- Riddick
What could change for the better: It will be difficult to project good outcomes for this franchise until it straightens out its front office. After firing Gaine after only one season, the Texans appear rudderless. Their attempt to hire Patriots personnel chief Nick Caserio was inspired but proved a dead end for now. If the Texans want to compete in 2022, they’ll need to start at the top. -- Seifert