With the lackluster performance in the Wildcard round of the playoffs behind them, the Houston Texans have plenty to figure out heading into the offseason. The 2019 schedule was just released and it’s safe to say it’s not a walk in the park.
Six of those teams made the playoffs this season with five still in the hunt for the Lombardi Trophy. Add that schedule to the Wildcard loss and several questions arise for Bill O’Brien and his staff.
One of the biggest issues the Texans saw this season was the amount of times Deshaun Watson was hit or sacked. O’Brien was asked about fixing the offensive line with the current players on the roster or if other players will have to be brought in: “We’ll definitely look at every position, and that’s – every year is different. So, we’ll evaluate every position. But again, the one thing about is that there’s a lot of things that go into a sack. I’ve said that, and it’s the truth. There’s, obviously, offensive lineman maybe getting beat, or we miss a hot, we miss a sight adjust, the quarter doesn’t get rid of the ball on time, the receiver runs the wrong route. So, there’s a lot that goes into the sacks. So, those are two separate discussions. The big things is, is evaluate the roster. Every year the roster’s different just by the nature of the draft and free agency and all those different things. We’re not near there yet. We’ll begin that process, though, right away this week. We’ll start to get a handle on what we think we need to do moving forward with Brian (Gaine), and his staff and our coaching staff.” In my opinion, spend some money and upgrade that offensive line.
Watson has proved over the course of 1 ½ seasons played that he is the franchise quarterback but the play calling has at times been suspect. The Texans need an OC that isn’t OB. He was pretty mum when asked if he will call plays next season: “I think at the end of every year we evaluate everything. Obviously, we just ended yesterday. But, we’ll take a look at everything. We always try to make the best decisions in the best interest of winning. Like I said after the game, I think we have a very good future here. A lot of things to fix, but like I said, we’ll take a look at everything.”
Besides a shaky offensive line, the redzone efficiency was terrible. Field goals obviously get you points on the board but that won’t win you ball games. OB talked about this issue: “I don’t know. That’s something that we’ve really got to study, but we were terrible in the red area on offense, not very good on third down on offense, and the same thing on defense. We still won 11 games. I think a lot of that had to do with our takeaway-giveaway ratio. I think we were plus-13. So, that helped us, but we’ve got to get better in those situations. We feel like we went into every game, we felt like the players were prepared, we felt like we had a good game plan, but it just didn’t come out that way. We have to look in the mirror as a coaching staff, and those are two areas that we’ve got to get better in on both sides of the ball.”
Houston has something to be excited about as they have three draft picks in the first two rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft. The biggest needs are the secondary and the offensive line. OB should be excited to work with GM Brian Gaine to evaluate the roster and plan for the draft. “That’s something that will stick with me for a long time (Wildcard loss), and I’ve got to figure that out. But, I definitely, at some point in time pretty soon here I get a second wind and get excited about helping Brian (Gaine) because now Brian really takes over relative to the draft and free agency and things like that, but we work very well together. We met. We were both in here early as hell and we already met for an hour. What do we want to do right away? Sometime this week, we’re going to meet, coaching staff and scouting staff. ‘Hey, here’s how we see the roster.’ We’re going to start this process right away because it is a new year already and we’ve got to get going. Like I said, we feel like we’re building something here, but I’ve been here for five years. Brian was here before, but this was his first year as a GM. We understand that we’re in the right direction, but we’ve got to get going.”
The Texans have shown they are capable of winning the division and making the playoffs but they are still far from being a Super Bowl contender. The team has a franchise quarterback, arguably the best wide receiver in the game and a defensive front that can take over a game in an instant. Questions need to be answered this offseason because the city of Houston and its football fans can’t stomach another early exit from the playoffs.