Editor’s Note: Houstonsportsandstuff.com is helping sponsor a charity poker tournament at Whitmeyer’s Distillery at 6 p.m. on July 29. It benefits the Touchdown Club of Houston, and entry includes dinner from Demeris BBQ and beer from Karbach. There will also be access to all of the great Whitmeyer’s products. Snowman Poker League is running the event. Sign up using PayPal at touchdownclub.org. Space is limited so sign up now. It will be a great event for a great cause!
By Brien O’Donal
For fans of the Houston Texans, today must give them the same feeling that some people get the day after Thanksgiving. It’s not the day everything happens, but it’s the time to start thinking about it. That’s right, training camp. If you’ve been following the site for the last week you know I’ve been telling you about the roster to prepare you for what’s about to happen. These are the dog days of summer when the pads go on and the hitting gets real. The next few weeks will begin to give us all a sense of what realistic expectations we should have.
That being said; there are plenty of positives and negatives about this team as they are currently constructed. I’ll start with the positives. Defense will be key for this team if they want to repeat as AFC South Champions. The good thing is that the front seven from last year is intact and, in fact; improved because J.J. Watt is returning from injury. The secondary should still be good despite the losses of A.J. Bouye and safety Danieal Manning. 2015 first round pick Kevin Johnson will return from injury and veterans Kareem Jackson and Jonathan Joseph are still there as well. All in all, the defensive starters should be every bit as good as they were in 2016 when they finished with a #1 overall ranking.
Offensively, the Texans drafted D’Onta Foreman to give some solid depth to the running back position and keep them a threat to do so when Lamar Miller is on the bench. The depth at wide receiver is still there and if Deshaun Watson plays every bit as well as he has sold himself to be, the offense can rise above its dismal 2016 numbers. All in all, I’d say this team has the potential to get 10-11 wins this year.
Honestly, those optimistic win numbers will only happen if everything goes according to plan, which we all know isn’t a realistic expectation. The major concerns with this roster are just as obvious as the positive aspects. As great as this team should be defensively, that applies pretty much only to the starters. The depth at every position is suspect. There are a lot of young, unproven players that will be second string on defense and if they have to play for an extended time look for the opponent to take full advantage. As the season progresses they may get better; but games lost early can make a difference when the season wraps up.
Offensively, it’s a little bit worse. Despite loads of talent at receiver, they underachieved as a whole last year. Many will point to Brock Osweiler as the root cause, but if they couldn’t get on the same page with him it might be difficult to do so early on with another new quarterback. Speaking of which…who will it be? Watson may have been drafted in the first round; but that doesn’t mean he will be ready to take the reins in September. That leaves Tom Savage heaving the ball downfield. He has yet to prove anything and the concern is that he didn’t see the field sooner last year because he simply wasn’t better than Osweiler. The offensive line is still the same mess it was last year, which won’t do anything to help reassure whoever lines up under center.
I see this as a challenging season. Will the offense get just a tick better so that the defense won’t bear as much weight? Will the defensive starters stay healthy enough to allow the youth to develop behind them? All we can do right now is read the reports coming out of training camp and wait till the preseason games come on TV. Then we’ll start to get a clearer picture about the makeup of the team when Jacksonville arrives in Houston September 10th.
2017 HOUSTON TEXANS TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE
Bold indicates practice is open to the media only and not open to the general public.
* indicates joint practices with the New England Patriots.
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