While the villains of the past are easy to spot: Jack Easterly, BO’B, Cal McNair, [NAME REDACTED], [NAME REDACTED2], it’s not quite so easy to point at the one person most responsible for the success of the team in the last calendar year.
Who do you think it is?
The face of the family who owns the Houston Texans, the man often vilified in the past for apparent lack of competency, abundance of apathy and his Minecraft skillz, Cal seems to have had a renaissance of sorts over the last 12-15 months. He no longer seems to interject himself in football decisions, stopped bungling pressers and is seldom seen without his far-more-charismatic wife Hannah. She steals the show every time.
The subject of many a Cal faux pas, Caserio’s entrance to the Houston Texans was likely the most drama-laced, soap opera-ey hiring in recent NFL GM history. But, man, it sure seems like it was worth it. Caserio cleared all of BO’B’s piss-poor contracts, opened up a ton of salary cap space, drafted a lot of awesome young players and helped bring in DeMeco Ryans. He certainly deserves some credit for the H-Town Turnaround.
While McNair and Caserio brought Coach Ryans to the Texans, it sure seems the former linebacker’s impact on this organization’s culture has been seismically impactful. Ryans reinvigorated the veteran players, brought the best out of younger ones like Derek Stingley Jr. and Nico Collins, and has this team overachieving in more ways than one. He was the sort of player you wanted on your team, now he’s the sort of coach you want leading it.
Texans QB C.J. Stroud on OC Bobby Slowik staying in Houston: "I'm excited, it's another year with a good coach. We got a lot of good chemistry. It's a real good thing."https://t.co/t6sHLQcW4z pic.twitter.com/cLx9nAgh9r— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) February 3, 2024
While Slowik is likely the least deserving of the top spot in this poll, he does deserve credit for engineering and overseeing a Texans offense that never truly seemed out of a game. They came from behind more than once, and the offensive output was vastly increased. The 2022 Texans gained 283.5 yards per game and averaged just 17 points. The 2023 edition, under Slowik, gained 342.4 yards and scored an average 22.2 points. Hard not to acknowledge that as a huge reason for their 2023 fortunes.
Amidst all the S2 Cognition testing drama and “Ohio State Quarterbacks Fail in the NFL” narratives, Stroud came out and lit the league on fire. When all was said and done, the rising star had one of the greatest seasons by a rookie quarterback in pro football history. And, he did it while missing two games due to the concussion protocol. After just one season, Stroud’s 4,108 passing yards put him in fifth place all-time on the Houston Texans career passing yards list behind Matt Schaub, [NAME REDACTED2], David Carr and Davis Mills.
We know it’s just flag football…— Apollo Texans (@ApolloTexans) February 4, 2024
But damn what an absolute dime from CJ Stroud. This kid is just different. pic.twitter.com/xZZYx6ghaR
WILL ANDERSON JR.
While the other first round draft pick of the 2023 Houston Texans didn’t make as big a splash as Stroud, he still paid huge dividends, helping to transform the Texans front seven back into a formidable force. Anderson also missed two games due to injury, but ended his rookie season with 29 solo tackles, 10 tackles for loss and seven sacks. The young man also ate up blocks, forced opposing offenses back into the arms of fellow lineman Jonathan Greenard and brought new fire to the Texans D.
In the end, football is a team game and the team itself deserves the credit. And, while it’s easy to turn this into a popularity contest, let’s take a minute and logically assert who you believe pushed this team over the line from league laughing stock to AFC Division Champions.
Who did the most to improve the 2023 Houston Texans?
This poll is closed
Will Anderson Jr.
Other (explain in the comments)