The Houston Texans face a slew of Davis Mills starts with Tyrod Taylor out for probably a month. The Texans face Buffalo, New England, Indianapolis, Arizona, Los Angeles (R), and Miami over the next six weeks. What do you think the Texans’ record will be by the time Taylor comes back from injury? Will the Texans be in too deep a hole to expect a meaningful resurgence whenever Taylor gets back?
This is the question I asked the masthead. These are their responses.
BIG FAT DRUNK:
1. In easy answers to easy questions, the answer is 1-X, whereas X is the number of additional games that Tyrod misses.
2. If/when we get Tyrod back, there’s no reason to believe he’ll stay healthy. As Dear Leader Tim mentioned on the Twitter machine, hamstring injuries tend to linger during the season. Regardless, Tyrod has struggled with the “staying healthy” skill plaguing him since he was traded to Cleveland.
“Meaningful resurgence”...that is quite the phrase.
In terms of the team’s win/loss record, given that this team was not really expected to do anything but compete for the #1 pick in the 2022 draft, I am not sure that really applies. Granted, based on how the season is shaking out, there are now actually three games (NE, IND, MIA) that do not appear to be the insurmountable obstacles they once were. This does not mean that the Texans should expect to win those, or really any, of the aforementioned games. The squad is too talent-starved and the schemes are too limited on both sides of the ball to make a significant difference. If the team is to come out with a win in that stretch, it will be as much about the other teams’ derping/suffering its own catastrophic set of injuries as opposed to anything the Fightin’ McEasterbys do. Even with a healthy Taylor, the Texans can’t realistically expect to do all that well this season against that schedule. 1-8 is in play, but perhaps they can sneak in a win or two, which may or may not be a good thing, depending on what you think the long-term strategy should be for the 2021 Texans.
As far as “meaning resurgence” for the player Tyrod Taylor, well, that is a more relevant use of the phrase. If Taylor can get back to playing like he did for the first six quarters of the season upon his return to the lineup and he can avoid round two of injuries (although hamstrings can be rather tricky, devilish injuries for athletes), then he is setting himself up for a nice contract/offer from a team looking for either the best back-up available or a solid bridge quarterback option. Hopefully, either option places Taylor in a situation that is far more optimistic than the one he walked into with the 2021 Texans. The guy deserves far better than the football Fates have given him...either that, or he finally managed to get the right number of birds to sacrifice when the moon and several planets are properly aligned so as to break whatever curse he has been under these past few seasons.
I expect the Texans to be 2-7 at the end of this stretch. Perhaps their one additional win will be against New England or Indianapolis; flip a coin. My biggest concern with what happens when Tyrod Taylor returns is how the Texans will handle it. If they do feel as though Davis Mills is the QB of the future, what sense is there in playing Taylor in a lost season? It’s not like Mills has been horrifically god awful, and it’s not like the Texans have put him in a great position to succeed. That’s not a shot at the Texans, it just is what it is-- he is a rookie who was pressed into action before he was ready, but he doesn’t look so lost as to think he may not have a future on an NFL field.
While I want the Texans to maximize their draft position for 2022, I also have no reason to believe they will knock it out of the park with whatever pick they end up with, so I’d rather watch them actually be competitive. It’s also worth mentioning that you don’t need to have a top five pick to find a good NFL quarterback. So I for one hope Taylor does come back and regains his starting job. The offense was legitimately fun to watch before he went down. Maybe by the time he comes back, Mills will have the offense running with some semblance of competency as well, but I’m not holding my breath.
RETURN ON RYBERG:
Best case scenario, the Texas go 3-3 over their next six. You can consider Buffalo, Arizona and Los Angeles automatic losses. They are all legitimate title contenders and possibly three of the top five best teams in the league right now. Worst case scenario, the Texans drop all six games. Sadly, the latter is more likely. Yet I think they can beat the Colts and the Dolphins to go 2-4 and finish up with a 3-6 record through nine weeks. Which leads to the tricky question: Will it be too late for Tyrod to lead a playoff push for the Texans?
What makes this question trickier than usual is that extra 17th game everyone is going to have on their schedule. Having this unprecedented extra game at the end of the season makes it difficult to calculate where the cut-off line for a team’s playoffs hopes lie.
Let’s say the Texans end up with a 3-6 record going into their bye weekend (Week 10). After that they have the Titans, Jets, and Colts. All winnable games if Tyrod comes back and plays like he did the first game and a half. It is also worth noting that the Titans will face the Chiefs, Rams, Colts and Saints in the weeks leading up to the Texans coming off a bye. Sounds like a trap game for the Titans, and it could be a momentum starter for the Texans to pick up some wins and even their record to 6-6. Then they are sitting at .500 in Week 14 after gaining a game on the division leader with some tough games remaining, but the toughest of them at home. Anything can happen at that point.
That is one of the best-case scenarios. Worst case is sitting at 1-8 with playoff hopes dead come Week 10. No matter the situation the Texans find themselves in, they should play Tyrod when he’s healthy. A team needs to put everyone on the field that gives it the best opportunity to win every single Sunday, and Tyrod is that for the Texans. Tanking for better draft picks is one of the worst things a franchise can do. It’s a black hole mentality that NFL franchises rarely escape. Top ten picks are extremely overrated anyways.
What are your thoughts?