Their quarterback position was a revolving door of mediocrity, yet their combination of defensive prowess and dumb luck propelled them to a winning record. This season they’re losing some talent on defense but there’s a glimmer of hope on the horizon at quarterback.
Last season: 9-7
Subtractions: DT Vince Wilfork, DE Antonio Smith, LB John Simon, CB A.J. Bouye, S Quintin Demps
Additions: None of the significance. Seriously.
Notable Rookies: QB DeShaun Watson, DT Carlos Watkins
Analysis: Houston won games last year on the strength of their defense and not their quarterback play. While defensive stars like Jadaveon Clowney and Brian Cushing remain and J.J. Watt comes back from injury, the team lost its top cornerback in A.J. Bouye, who signed with Jacksonville. Wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller are a solid tandem, and the team leans heavily on tight ends C.J. Fiederowicz and Ryan Griffin who both notched 50 or more catches last season. While coach Bill O’Brien has insisted journeyman Tom Savage is his starting quarterback, the team spent its first round pick on DeShaun Watson whose high ceiling, one could argue, makes him a better choice to start. Last year’s record is stronger on paper than it was in real life. In games decided by one score, the Texans were 8-2, suggesting they’re prime candidates for regression. The team didn’t sign any major free agents, acquiring no players for more than $3-million. If Tom Savage is your 16-game starter expect a season of mediocrity. If Watson wins out, the win-ceiling gets higher but the floor gets lower too.