Editor’s note: Brien is a well-traveled Houstonian and Army Combat Veteran with an extremely wide range of talents and interests including the NFL (Packers), Irish History, and writing. Follow him on twitter @ODonalsVanguard
By BRIEN O’DONAL
In a recent article posted to this site, Lamont Mann suggested “Screw QB: Texans need to focus on the running game” There were some great points made about the lack of confidence in Bill O’Brien to find and develop the quarterback position, the lack of depth at running back, and the need on offensive line. While these may be true, I disagree with the initial premise of the article. No team should ever stop looking for a franchise quarterback. Year after year teams with one win far more than those without. No matter how you feel about the ability of the GM and coaching staff’s efforts at the position, they can’t stop until the problem is solved. No team is truly a contender without “The Man” behind center.
The Texans cannot get out from Brock Osweiler’s contract this year but simply going with the status quo will not improve the team and only waste more years of the real star players. There are always options available to find competition. Off the top of my head I can think of three young backups that need to be pursued; Brett Hundley of the Packers, A.J. McCarron of the Bengals, and the least likely Jimmy Garappolo of the Patriots. Finding a draft pick package to pry one of them away can’t be cast aside. The next option would be to find a veteran arm on the cheap. They may not be popular names but Brian Hoyer, Mark Sanchez, and Matt Cassel have all had some level of success and would be at least as good as Osweiler. The other option is the draft. None of the available quarterbacks look to be day one starters but neither was Dak Prescott or Russell Wilson.
There is no NFL crystal ball that can tell you which player is the future franchise quarterback for the Texans, but even considering punting on the position this year would be a mistake. You miss 100% of the chances you don’t take. And to suggest that more focus should be spent on running back would be fine but only if done holistically. Lamar Miller was very productive last year and there’s no reason to suggest he won’t repeat that again. Lamont was correct in his assessment of the depth at that position. However; my observation is that there doesn’t have to be a lot of focus there and balancing the current running game with a better passing game would provide instant improvement without a major investment. The upcoming draft has a wide variety of running back styles that can be added at any point. A secondary back can be found on day two or three or even bargain free agency. Their only purpose would be to give Miller rest and hopefully develop into his replacement.
Lamont was also correct in suggesting that the offensive line needs help. Better quarterback play can help there too. Having a player who can get the ball out of his hand quickly and further down the field will give defenses more pause. The offense of the Texans can take a huge step forward by improving that one position. They won’t be tops in the league, but with their defense they don’t need to be. Not investing in that position first would doom the Texans to mediocrity more than passing on running back and offensive line. I’ll say it again: no team is truly a contender without “The Man” behind center.