The Houston Texans will kickoff the season with facing a familiar foe in the New England Patriots this week. What’s the best way for this team to go out and get off the schneid? Take a look and find out what’s most important.
The culmination of the Houston Texans exhibition games marks the long-awaited first week of the NFL regular season. Week 1 will be a true test for the Texans as they travel up to Foxborough, Mass. to face off against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Houston fans everywhere should be very excited about this week 1 matchup because starting off the season with a win is always exciting but to do it against a powerhouse team like the Patriots would be absolutely huge.
The defensive game plan to beat New England is no secret but it’s a matter of execution. The defense needs to get to Brady when he drops back to pass. He moves very well in the pocket so this not an easy task. The Patriots’ first-round draft pick, Isaiah Wynn was meant to be their starting right tackle but he tore his Achilles in the preseason and has been ruled out for 2018.
Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt need to be physical with Brady whenever they get a chance. If he gets time in the pocket, he can be lethal. The linebackers will also be busy Sunday because the Patriots are notorious for using their running backs in the passing game, which they will definitely try to do because their receiving core is not as strong as it has been in the past. Julian Edelman is one of Brady’s favorite targets but he is suspended for the first four games so tight end, Rob Gronkowski will most likely be Brady’s No. 1 target. They do not have an elite receiver on the outside so as long as there are no blown assignments in the secondary, the Texans should be able to limit their production.
On the other side of the ball, Houston needs to limit turnovers on offense. They’ll need to eat up the clock, keep the ball out of Brady’s hands and hang on to the football. Deshaun Watson is more than capable to limit stupid mistakes from this unit but if they do turn the ball over, New England will make them pay for it. By the way, I feel the Pats’ unit seems a bit more aggressive this year so we’ll have to see how that translates to out on the field.
Brian Flores, the linebackers coach, will be calling plays for the defense as well. Although he hasn’t officially been named the coordinator to succeed Matt Patricia, he will be in Belichick’s ear in regard to the strategy with his superior making the final call. This has the appearance of a trial period for Flores and if he does well in his new role, his promotion could be a done deal.
Patricia believed in a “bend-but-don’t-break” style of defense where the unit just keeps everything in front of them and makes the offense fight for every yard. With this more aggressive style of defense, opportunities for big plays will present themselves. The play-calling needs to keep New England guessing and needs to be willing to take shots downfield.
We all remember the New England game last year which ended in heart break from a Tom Brady game-winning drive that ended with a touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks with less than a minute remaining in the game. Houston has the talent to beat New England, they just have to avoid beating themselves with mistakes.
These are my thoughts on what’s needed to beat the Patriots? Do you agree? Feel free to sound off in comments section below.
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Houston Texans: Rob and Brian’s final sign-off from Locked on Texans
Brian and Robert say goodbye to Locked on Texans. After 540 episodes, we bid a tearful farewell to Houston Texans faithful, reminisce about our tenure and share some final thoughts on the Houston Texans future.
Houston Texans: The best free agents to target in the 2019 off season
The Houston Texans off season is here and there’s a lot of work to do to prep this team for 2019. Who are the top free agents that the team should go after? Let’s take a look at the players who would make an impact.
The Houston Texans were one of the NFL’s better success stories this season after starting the season 0-3. J.J. Watt returned as one of the league’s most dominant defensive players, while free agent signee Tyrann Mathieu was a playmaker at the safety position. Third-round pick Justin Reid was one of the league’s best rookies and a starter in the Texans’ secondary for years to come.
DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson maintained their solid connection from last year as the former was named to his second consecutive first team All-Pro. Despite being sacked a league high 62 times, Watson passed for 4,165 yards and 26 touchdowns as he led the Texans to a 11-5 record and the AFC South division title. Lamar Miller was only 27 yards from his third 1,000+ yard season, despite missing two games because of injuries.
While the offense did put up strong numbers, the offensive line was a liability throughout the season as Watson was constantly under pressure, while Miller and the rest of the Texan running backs had few running lanes. Right tackle Seantrel Henderson was signed to fix those problems but he broke his ankle in the season opener and did not play for the rest of the season. He is a free agent now and so is Kendall Lamm, the man who replaced Henderson on the offensive line.
Julie’n Davenport struggled at left tackle and Martinas Rankin has not shown enough to yet to be a contributor on the offensive line. While Jadeveon Clowney and Mathieu are both free agents who need to be brought back, improving the offensive line is the team’s biggest priority in the off season. The Texans need to address the offensive line in both free agency and the draft as the unit struggled to protect Watson.
In regard to bringing in help via free agency, Daryl Williams missed most of the 2018 season with a shoulder injury but he was a second team All-Pro in 2017 and is the top tackle available.
His value might not as high because of the shoulder injury but Williams is one of the league’s better tackles and the Texans need to get him in free agency to bolster their offensive line. Williams is a mauler that should help create running lanes for Miller, while keeping Watson upright in the pocket. If the Texans are unable to sign him, Ja’Wuan James and Roger Saffold are the next best offensive linemen available in free agency and both players should be targeted by the Texans.
An upgrade in the secondary is also needed as Shareece Wright struggled in coverage, while Kayvon Webster and Aaron Colvin battled to stay healthy. Kareem Jackson had a great year for the Texans but is another Texans’ free agent that has to be re-signed.
The Texans need to address their own free agents first as Clowney, Mathieu and Jackson were all vital parts to the team’s success in 2018.
What do you think? Feel free to comment in the section below.
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Houston Texans: Identifying the team’s most glaring weaknesses
What are the Houston Texans biggest weaknesses going into the 2019 off season? Rob and Brian bring on State of the Texans’ BigRon to discuss what needs to be done to fix a team that has tons of potential to be dominant. What’s the best way to improve the offensive line? Is Julién Davenport still worth developing and what should we expect to see in additional development?
How about the thought of shifting Greg Mancz to center and Nick Martin to guard? The trio also discusses the future of Whitney Mercilus on the roster as well as certain defensive lineman not getting enough playing time. What else? Take a listen to find out more!
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What’s the best way for the Houston Texans to fix the running backs position for the 2019 season? They certainly can do better than bringing back Alfred Blue. Rob and Brian talk about what the team needs to do and gives their top free agent running backs to help this offense flourish. Is bringing in Le’Veon Bell a possibility? Can the Houston Texans get the back they want in this season’s draft?
The duo discusses that plus gives their thoughts of Indianapolis Colts’ firing offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo and the interesting back story that likely factored into the move. Plus, Gary Kubiak finds a new job in the NFL. What else? Take a listen to find out more!