Team Name: Houston Texans
Division: AFC South
Stadium: NRG Stadium (Houston, TX)
2013 Record: 2-14 (This stellar record earned them the first pick in the 2014 draft!)
Head Coach: Bill O’Brien (2014), spent five years in New England and then two years as Penn State’s head coach after the Sandusky scandal, also has an interesting personal story
Quarterback: Ryan Fitzpatrick (2014), Harvard grad also known as the Amish Rifle for his sick beard, proposed to his wife in front of a McDonald’s
3 Offensive Players You Should Know:
– Andre Johnson, Wide Receiver (80) – If there’s a receiving record for the Texans, Johnson probably owns it. This is Johnson’s 11th year with the Texans, despite rumblings of trade talks earlier this year. He’s a pretty darn good receiver who is probably pretty frustrated by their QB situation.
– Arian Foster, Running Back (23) – Foster was an undrafted free agent signed by the Texans in 2009. He owns a bunch of Texans rushing records, and when he’s not injured, he makes a lot of fantasy owners very happy. On a more personal note, he likes to write poetry and he’s a vegan.
– DeAndre Hopkins, Wide Receiver (10) – Drafted in 2013, he had a prolific college career. He certainly has a bigger role this year than he did last year, but hasn’t had the opportunity to shine yet. His role should increase over time, especially if Andre Johnson leaves the team.
3 Defensive Players You Should Know:
– J.J. Watt, Defensive End (99) – What. A. Beast. Every week we like to include What J.J. Watt Did in our weekly game recap. Watt is one of the most disruptive defensive players in the league right now and judging by the 6-year, $100 million contract he signed in September, the Texans recognize that. He’s making a case to earn the MVP title this year, something usually given to offensive players. He’s also a nice guy:
– Jadeveon Clowney, Linebacker (90) – The first overall pick in the draft, people had ridiculously high expectations of Clowney coming into the season. USA Today called him “by far the most freakish physical specimen” in the draft. He tore his meniscus in the first regular game of the season and has missed seven games so far.
– Brian Cushing, Inside Linebacker (56) – Drafted in 2009, he had a stellar rookie season and it’s been a roller coaster ride ever since. He missed four games in 2010 after testing positive for a banned substance, had an outstanding 2011 season, tore his ACL and missed most of the 2012 season, and then missed most of the 2013 season due to injury.
What Happened This Offseason:
– The Texans fired Gary Kubiak as head coach before the end of the 2013 season and hired Bill O’Brien as his replacement.
– There was lots of quarterback movement in Houston. They traded Matt Schaub to Oakland, traded with New England for Ryan Mallett, and then signed the Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has been their starter this season. Halfway through the season, there are rumors that Mallett could replace Fitzpatrick, who has had a mediocre performance so far in 2014.
– Running back extraordinaire Arian Foster was injured in 2013 and missed the second half of the season. He’s back this year.
Why You Should Cheer for Them: J.J. Watt. He’s one of the most dominant defensive players in the modern era and every week he seems to break some record or do something completely unexpected.
2014 Theme Song: So Fresh, So Clean (OutKast) – New coach. New quarterback. Fresh start. I would go as far as to say that the Texans are feeling so fresh and so clean.
The Last Word: It’s hard to expect miracles the first year you have a new coach and a new quarterback. It’s not a super strong division, which works in the team’s favor. You get the sense that they have the pieces for a really good team, it just might take some more time to put them together. The defense doesn’t seem to get the credit it deserves – it’s currently ranked in the bottom third of all defenses in the league. They lead the lead in some important stats, however, like takeaways (interceptions and forcing fumbles). If the offense would hold onto the ball better, their turnover differential would be near the top of the league.
– Michelle and Val