The NFL is still set to open training camps at the end of this month, even without their precious preseason games. With camps about to open, ESPN looked at each team’s biggest question entering training camp.
What will the Texans’ offense look like without DeAndre Hopkins?
Perhaps more balanced. Whether that’s a good thing is up for debate. Regardless of who the Texans signed this offseason, it’s hard to say this offense could be better without Hopkins, a first-team All-Pro for the past three seasons who was traded to the Arizona Cardinals in March. But there is certainly more depth at wide receiver with the addition of Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb, who will primarily play in the slot. Last season, Deshaun Watson led all quarterbacks with 33 completions of 30 or more yards, and according to Pro Football Focus, he was the second-highest graded quarterback on throws 20 or more yards down the field. There were times last season when Watson looked like an MVP quarterback. Can he sustain that success for a whole season? It might depend on whether his supporting cast can replace Hopkins’ prolific production.
This is a valid point. The idea is to run fast and through the ball downfield, but Bill O’Brien has never run an offense like this except for briefly during Watson’s rookie season. O’Brien has consistently focused on a balanced offense, establishing the run and sticking to things once something works—see the same run/pass option with a tight end and deep crossing route combinations from last season. It’s one of those things where until I see it, I don’t fully believe it. It just seems like we already know what the Texans’ offense is going to look like.
My personal biggest question is what Houston’s pass defense is going to look like. Do they really think Bradley Roby and Lonnie Johnson Jr. can be left on an island outside? Will Bradley Roby primarily play in the slot? What will the pass rush front look like? How often will they blitz to create pressure? Will J.J. Watt play inside at all, and do they have any options with him off the field?
It’s a passing league, and the Texans had one of the worst passing defenses in football last season. They only added Eric Murray and Michael Thomas to it in free agency, plus rookies John Reid, Jonathan Greenard, and Ross Blacklock via the NFL Draft. That’s not much of an improvement to a busted pass defense.
What do you think is the biggest question for the Texans entering training camp?