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PFT Preseason Power Rankings No. 10: Houston Texans
Ten is certainly not a glowing vote of confidence for a SuperBowl run.
THE REST OF THE STORY
Posted by Darin Gantt on July 20, 2013, 9:00 AM EDT
The Texans had a long climb to respectability.
But now that they’ve achieved it, there’s suddenly a sense of unfulfilled potential.
The Texans have looked like Super Bowl contenders the last two years, but have lost in the Divisional Round of the playoffs both years.
The year before it unraveled when their quarterback went down, but they squandered a chance at home field advantage after an 11-1 start last year. That makes this year seem a bit of a repeat of last year’s expectations.
But teams are now pecking away at their base of talent, and some key losses in free agency mean they’re relying on young or new players in several spots.
The Texans are fully capable of winning 12 games again, but they’ve created the questions about their mental ability to win the ones that matter most.
The Texans have star power at some key positions, with players such as defensive end J.J. Watt, left tackle Duane Brown, running back Arian Foster and wide receiver Andre Johnson among the very best in the game.
Watt’s season last year was remarkable in many ways, primarily because he dominated games from a position usually tailored to tying up blocks so other guys can make plays. His ability to change the passing game both as a sack guy (20.5) and by batting down passes is something few can match.
And the offensive stars got a lift with the addition of first-round wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who should be able to take some pressure off Johnson (and by extension, Foster) with his deep ball ability.
Quarterback Matt Schaub has been pretty good, and maybe a top 10-in-the-league caliber guy, so it’s hard to call him a true weakness. But it is getting close to the time where he either has to move up or they have to start wondering when to move him out.
He’s accurate, he’s productive, he puts up huge numbers.
But he’s not pushing into the top tier of quarterbacks until he plays better in December and January, and more and more people are starting to realize that he hasn’t done that yet. He had one touchdown pass in the last four games last season, making it no surprise the Texans only won one of them.
He’s had the benefit of excellent talent around him — with a strong running game and offensive line making play-action easier — and now’s the time for him to prove he belongs in the conversation with the very top quarterbacks.
If he doesn’t, people are going to zoom in on him as the reason the Texans are falling short, rather than one of the reasons they’re so close.