2014 NFL Season Preview- Houston Texans
2013 in review
The 2013 season brought much promise to the Houston Texans. They were coming off a 2012 season where they finished with a 12-4 record and were AFC South champions. In the 2013 NFL Draft, they selected Clemson wide receiver, DeAndre Hopkins who was brought in to complement star receiver Andre Johnson. They started off the 2013 campaign winning their first two games against San Diego and Tennessee. After that, the season went completely down hill.
Quarterback Matt Schaub was coming off a Pro Bowl season and was looking to be even better. Instead he had his worst season as a pro. Over the next three games, Schaub threw six interceptions, including three returned for touchdowns. The Texans set an NFL record for the most consecutive games thronging a pick-six with five. Schaub was benched by week 7 and Case Keenum became the starter for the remainder of the season.
The team was also plagued by injuries to star players like running back Arian Foster, tight end Owen Daniels, and linebacker Brian Cushing. The Cushing was a huge contributor in why the team finished dead last in red-zone defense. The Texans had 31 turnovers on offense and only forced 11. DeAndre Hopkins showed flashes of being great but wasn't consistent as the season went on.
Coach Gary Kubiak, who suffered a heart attack during the season, was fired with three games left and the season and the team finished with the worst record in the NFL at 2-14. Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien was then hired to revitalize the talent filled team.
2013 Texans Rankings
Passing Yards Allowed
Rushing Yards Allowed
238.3 yds per game
108.9 yds per game
195.2 yds per game
122.4 yds per game
347.2 yds per game
317.6 yds per game
NFL Rank- 15th
NFL Rank- 20th
NFL Rank- 3rd
NFL Rank- 23rd
NFL Rank- 11th
NFL Rank- 7th
It came as a shock to many Texans fans when head coach Gary Kubiak was fired after week 14 of the season, but in reality it was for the best. Kubiak composed a 61-64 record in eight seasons as the team's head coach. The team's search for a new coach brought them to Bill O'Brien.
O'Brien was the head coach at Penn State the last two seasons while the team was on suspension from the Jerry Sandusky case and before that he served as an offensive assistant for the New England Patriots under Bill Belichick for five seasons.
Some other notable coaching staff changes include Romeo Crennel replacing Wade Phillips as the defensive coordinator. Also former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel was hired as the linebackers coach.
Notable additions- QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, FS Kendrick Lewis, RB Andre Brown
Notable departures- QB Matt Schaub, QB T.J. Yates, RB Ben Tate, TE Owen Daniels
2014 NFL Draft
In the Months prior to the draft. There was no clear player who should be drafted number one. There was also a lot of concern about the maturity of the players coming into the draft.
South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was seen as the top rated prospect in the drafted, but there were a lot of red flags. At his final season at South Carolina, he failed to bring the production he did the previous year. I also questioned his work ethic when prior to the start of the 2013 college football season he said he would sit out the entire year to ensure his health and be the number one pick in the draft. When someone has to say that, it should really bring into question their character and attitude once they reach the professional level.
One position that was a concern for the Texans was the quarterback. Matt Schaub had his worst season as a pro, Case Keenum showed promise but not enough to where he deserves the starting job, and T.J. Yates hadn't done enough to deserve a roster spot. Many fans wanted the team to draft either Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel or UCF quarterback Blake Bortles. Manziel won the Heisman trophy as a freshmen and broke several records for a quarterback in his two years at A&M. Like Clowney, Manziel also had maturity issues entering the draft. I felt he should have stayed in school for one more year because despite being an electric player in the SEC, there wasn't anything during the season that showed me this guy is a leader. Also there is a lot of concerns whether or not his game could translate to the NFL field.
Blake Bortles surprised many people with his spectacular play in Conference USA and led the Golden Knights to an upset Fiesta Bowl victory against Baylor. One of the knocks on Bortles for me was his limited time as a starter which makes me think that he will be a backup for awhile where ever he gets drafted.
When draft day came along, the Texans ended up choosing Clowney with the first overall pick. Other notable draft picks by Houston include UCLA guard Xavier Su'a-Filo, Notre Dame nose tackle Louis Nix, and Pittsburgh quarterback Tim Savage.
Jadeveon Clowney Highlight
What to Expect
Don't think that Houston is going to get back on track right away. When Brian Cushing is back and healthy, I think that the defense will be fine. And with Jadeveon Clowney and Louis Nix joining J.J. Watt on the defensive line, this will be a scary line to face in the future.
As for the offense, it might take a full year or two to grasp Bill O'Brien's style of offense. With Arian Foster coming back, the offense should be more productive. and as far as the quarterback situation, O'Brien is likely to go with Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starter with Case Keenum as the backup and Tom Savage as third-string QB. If Fitzpatrick begins to struggle, I can see O'Brien looking to Keenum. I personally never believed in the hype of Tom Savage entering the draft. If he couldn't out right win the starting job at Pitt as a senior, he won't even be in the conversation for the Texans.
Best record they can hope for- 6-10