After a season derailed by injuries to key players on both sides of the ball, the Texans are ready to compete in their division and return to the playoffs.
Once Deshaun Watson became the starting quarterback last year, it looked like the Texans had a dynamic offense that could carry them to the playoffs. Then, he tragically tore his ACL and the team only won 1 game the rest of the year. However, while he was starting, they only went 3-3 because frankly their cornerbacks were getting beat often. Houston had the 25th-best pass defense last year and that cost them a lot of games.
In a division with two playoff teams from last year and Andrew Luck, they cannot afford to have any weaknesses in their pursuit of the playoffs. However, that doesn’t mean the Texans can’t do it.
Here are five reasons why the Texans could be playing into January.
5. New Safeties
As mentioned before, the Texans secondary ranked 25th in pass defense last year. Unfortunately, the only real change they made to the cornerback position was to sign Aaron Colvin. Colvin was a situational corner for the Jaguars last year, hidden behind Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye he didn’t have to do too much. We will see how much he is able to contribute to the Texans defense.
Bigger news for the defense comes at the safety position. They brought in two hybrids, signing Tyrann Mathieu and drafting Justin Reid from Stanford.
Mathieu has played all along the defensive backfield his entire career and has long had a nose for the ball. The Honey Badger is known for flying around the field, forcing fumbles, coming over to pick off passes, and making crunching tackles. Adding him to the fold should help the Texans improve their turnover differential which finished at -12 last year. His presence is one that offenses need are constantly aware of because of how dynamic he can be near the ball.
Similarly, Reid showcased outstanding ball skills in college and will be a safety blanket over the top for cornerbacks. The five interceptions he had in 2017 should translate to a Texans defense whose pass rush will force quick throw from quarterbacks. He also has phenomenal quickness, demonstrated by his 4.4 40-yard dash. That will make sure that he is always where he needs to be when manning the secondary.
Adding both players will help the Texans secondary not be as porous as it was last season.