Why Texans need to get the car rental thing under control
The Texans are still reeling from the brutal loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars and the injuries to quarterback Brock Osweiler and running back Arian Foster.
The loss of DeAndre Hopkins and rookie running back Kareem Hunt, as well as a host of injuries to the defensive line, wide receivers and running backs, have forced Houston into the most drastic of adjustments to the offense in the last two weeks.
But there are still plenty of positives to take away from the loss.
Here are five things the Texans can take from the bye week.1.
DeAndre’s return will help the offense.
The Texans had the league’s No. 1 rushing attack last season.
They had the No. 2 rushing attack in the league last season, per Pro Football Focus.
DeLeon’s return would allow the Texans to go back to a 4-3 front, but it could also provide some answers to the question of what exactly is Houston’s “pivot” to a new scheme.
Houston had been using a 2-3-5 front for the last five years.
That’s changed, and it’s going to be interesting to see what kind of answers the Texans are going to give the defense as they try to replace Hopkins and Hunt.2.
The offensive line should be a lot better.
Last season, the Texans were dead last in the NFL in sacks (14.5) and first in quarterback hits (23).
They also were tied for the league lead in QB hits (24) and tied for second in sacks allowed (10.2).
So it’s not as if the offensive line was a total mess in 2016.
But in 2017, they were the worst unit in the game.
That was largely due to injuries and poor quarterback play.
If the offensive linemen and receivers are healthy and working together well, the offensive game plan should be better.3.
The defense should be even better.
It’s a little hard to tell just how much the Texans have improved from last season to this season, but the biggest positive is that they’re actually playing better than they did in 2016, according to Football Outsiders.
They ranked No. 8 in DVOA last season and No. 13 in DVPA this season.
That means the Texans actually ranked higher than their record would indicate.
They’ve gotten healthier, they’ve had better players at the top of the defense, and they’re playing with more urgency than they’ve played in years.4.
The defensive line is still the problem.
Defensive line coach Bill O’Brien has a history of going after linemen.
The Houston defensive line had one of the worst sack rates in the AFC South, per PFF, and there were a few other areas of concern.
But they did improve last year.
The addition of the veteran defensive lineman Charles Harris and the addition of former Texans nose tackle Johnathan Joseph are two big things that should help the Texans this season and beyond.5.
The running back position has been pretty good for a while.
Running back Lamar Miller is back from his ACL tear and should be ready to go for the season opener.
He was a major reason the Texans got to 10 wins in 2016 and the running back corps has been a huge part of that.
Miller rushed for 1,096 yards and nine touchdowns in his first two seasons, and he had 11 carries for 73 yards in 2016 before the injury.
He’ll be back this season with a new deal that pays him $12 million.