Just three weeks ago, the Houston Texans had dreams of a bye-week and a home playoff game in the divisional round. The 10-4 Texans were the #2 seed in the AFC with a chance at the top spot. Unfortunately for Houston, they ran into the buzzsaw that is Big Dick Nick in Week 16 and an absolute wagon of a Colts team in the wildcard game. Now, Houston is sitting at home, wondering what happened to a season with so much promise.
So where do the Texans turn their attention to now? How will they get over the hump next season?
As is the case with a lot of teams, it all starts in the trenches. The Texans offensive line was a disaster this season and it showed on Saturday. Starting Julien Davenport and Kendall Lamm was a train wreck at the tackle position, earning Pro Football Focus (PFF) grades of 55.2 and 64.4 respectively. Senio Kelemete and Zach Fulton were equally terrible inside with grades of 55.6 and 54.0. Add in Center Nick Martin’s 59.9 and it’s a clean sweep of poor play. It’s a minor miracle Deshaun Watson survived the season after this line surrendered 62 sacks. The Texans need to invest heavily in both the draft and free agency to completely retool this line.
On defense, the glaring hole is in the secondary. Houston gave up a total of 4167 yards through the air this year, fifth worse in the NFL. The strange thing is, all of the starters held up well. Their depth is what sank Houston. Shareece Wright should not be on an NFL roster, but he played 47% of Houston’s snaps this season. The good news is CB Kayvon Webster returns from IR, but you can never have too many capable CBs. Adding another solid DB should be a priority this offseason.
Lastly, the Texan’s biggest need is a new coach. Bill O’Brien is not the guy. O’Brien openly admitted he “didn’t do a good enough job getting the team prepared” for a playoff game against a divisional opponent. That sounds a lot like a coach falling on his sword for his team, but it isn’t out of the question for O’Brien. This roster is loaded with talent. They have the franchise QB, they have the elite wide receivers, and they have otherworldly pass rushers, yet this roster has yet to accomplish anything. In fact, in O’Brien’s six years as head coach, the Texans are 43-41 including 1-3 in the playoffs. That one playoff win came against the Connor Cook Raiders by the way. 2019 will be make-or-break for O’Brien and I’m putting money on break.
Photo: Texas Wire