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Red Zone Play: The Great State of Texa(n)s

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Finally, some positive outlooks from the national press.

NFL: APR 25 2019 NFL Draft Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Despite GM-gate, New England’s apparent bounty on Jack Easterby, the inability to lock down Jadeveon Clowney, Houston’s horrific free agency and less-than-exciting draft, or any of the other valid reasons to be an unhappy camper in the tailgate lot at NRG, the Texans currently aren’t half bad.

In fact, there’s a lot to get excited about coming into the 2019 season:

Deshaun Watson - what else is there to say?

J.J. Watt - see above.

Will Fuller V - if he can remain healthy watch out!

The offense has the potential to be one of, if not, the most explosive units in the league this year. The defense can easily return to dominating form, given a little luck, player progression, and maybe one or two more players in the secondary.

The special teams, if they continue the growth from last season, will finally be a source of team strength. Imagine that!

Over at NFL.com, Adam Rank shares this enthusiasm with his “State of the Franchise” piece.

Adam Rank

What a time to be alive in Texas. ...how about this Texans football team? Honestly, this is the best time for Texans fans. In Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins, you have the best tag-team since native son “Stone Cold” Steve Austin teamed up with Brian Pillman. And I know Pillman wasn’t from Texas, but let’s just move on.

He goes on to rate Deshaun Watson as one of the brightest spots on the team, if not the NFL. Then nominates D-Hop for 2019 NFL MVP honors - something that should have happened last year. I mean, when was the last time a receiver caught over 100 passes, scored over 10 touchdowns and had ZERO DROPS?

ZEEE-ROW! DROPS. #MVP

Anyway, this is all the more accentuated by a simple Google search. One of the cool things about Google is how the search bar autocompletes requests by filling in the most popular search based on what you start typing. When you enter “Deandre Hopkins” Google auto-completes “Best Wide Receiver”. Apparently the MVP committee has no internet access...

One addition to the Texans who hasn’t seen a lot of coverage yet (pun intended) is new safety Tashaun Gipson.

Adam Rank

Tashaun Gipson, safety. I might be crazy for saying this (and a lot of other things, actually), but I truly believe the Texans upgraded here going from Mathieu to Gipson. He’s never going to be the guy he was in Cleveland when he had like 800 interceptions. But he comes at a much cheaper price than Mathieu and he’s been pretty durable during his career. And don’t forget, he gets two REVENGE GAMES each year against the Jaguars!

I don’t think that’s crazy at all. Don’t get me wrong, I was drinking the Honey Badger Kool Aid, but in the grand scheme of things, replacing Mathieu with Gipson certainly looks like an upgrade - possibly the only good one of Brian Gaine’s 2019 free agency efforts.

If Gipson and rising star Justin Reid can find some quick chemistry, the backline of the Texans defense will be formidable indeed. Now, if Houston can only find one or two more cornerbacks at Reid or Gipson’s level, the bleeding through the air should be substantially reduced in 2019.

Rank ends with more positive flair:

I feel like I’m repeating myself here, but it really is a fun time to be a Texans fan. They have done a great job of rebuilding the defense, which has long been the hallmark of the franchise. But now you have the quarterback who can deliver you to the promised land. And getting there would be better than good enough.

And, honestly, it’s a bit of a wake up call for so many who are down on the Texans. Sure, getting pants’d by the Colts in the wild card game left a mark on our collective psyche, but it’s not like Houston fans need to start wearing bags over our heads.

This team is the youngest in the league, has more division championships than the Jaguars and Titans, both teams that have been around much longer than Houston (not to mention the Jaguars and Panthers were given the best starting point of any new franchise in NFL history).

In fact, the Houston Texans have more division titles since the 2002 realignment than the Chicago Bears, Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions and Washington Redskins - four of the oldest teams in the NFL. In fact, minus the Redskins and the 1985 Bears, those teams have ZERO Super Bowl wins. Since realignment, they’ve been a collection of crap comparatively.

So, lift your chin, Texans fans—this is a team to be proud of, warts and all.

After you peruse Rank’s piece, give us a list of your expected highs and lows for 2019. Do you think this could be the year, despite the tough schedule and question marks on the roster, coaching staff, etc.? Let’s hear ‘em!