Houston Texans fans — the AFC South has risen to one of the most competitive and talent-stacked divisions in the NFL. With that being said, how should their quarterbacks be ranked? Let’s take a deep dive into the talented guys under center.
The best teams in NFL all have one thing in common. When you look at the teams who consistently make the playoffs, they are all lead by great quarterbacks.
The AFC South quickly went from one of the worst divisions in the NFL to one of the best because of the emergence of their quarterbacks. In 2018, two out of the four teams in the AFC South made the divisional round of the playoffs. The emergence of young talent paired with strong defensive play also led to the rise of the AFC South.
So while we’re talking about the quarterback position, let’s rank the best (from bottom to top) in this division. Do you agree?
Houston Texans fans — here we go.
4. Blake Bortles
When ranking these quarterbacks from worst to best, placing Blake Bortles at this position made the most sense. During Bortles’ sophomore peak in 2015, he threw for 4,428 yards and 35 touchdowns with an 88.2 passer rating. In what seemed to foreshadow future years of success for the young quarterback, turned out to be a fluke.
Last season, the Jacksonville Jaguars transitioned into a rushing offense with the addition of standout rookie Leonard Fournette. Bortles’ throwing attempts went from 625 in 2016 to 523 attempts in 2017. The Jaguars changed Bortles role into a game-manager allowing him to play inside the strengths of the offense as he only threw for 21 touchdowns.
However, this constricting passing offense did prove to work as the Jaguars made the AFC Championship game against Patriots. When the Jaguars needed him the most, Bortles could not find it within himself to make that extra play to hold off the Patriots. Blake’s ceiling is making safe throws and easy reads while playing behind a solid running back and a tenacious defense. This did prove fruitful enough for the team’s success against the Houston Texans.
The Houston Texans are scheduled to face the Jaguars for the first time during Week 7 on the road which will take place Oct. 21.
3. Marcus Mariota
Honestly, these next three quarterbacks competing against the Houston Texans could have flip-flopped for a variety of different reasons. Placing Mariota at third best quarterback in this division doesn’t seem right until you look at his regression from the 2016 season. In 2016, Marcus looked ready to ascend as a franchise quarterback. During his 2016 campaign Mariota recorded an impressive 26 touchdowns, nine interceptions and made a late season playoff run only to come up short. In 2017, Mariota threw for a very lackluster 13 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
Throughout his three seasons in the NFL, he has lacked the consistency that would place him higher on this list. This unpredictable nature surrounding Mariota can be attributed to injuries and coaching. Mariota dealt with hamstring and knee trouble in 2017, while he fractured his fibula towards the end of the previous season.
The offense designed by Mike Mularkey was not tailored for Mariota’s style of play as he is a talented play maker when he is able to have the ball in his hands. The Titans did part ways with Mularkey last season but unexpectedly hired a defensive-minded coach in former Houston Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel. We will see how that turns out for Mariota’s development.
The Houston Texans are scheduled to face the Titans for the first time during Week 2 on the road which will take place Sep. 16.
2. Deshaun Watson
This seems like an odd spot to place Deshaun Watson as he only started in six of the 16 regular season games last year for the Houston Texans. However, he is placed this high on the list because of the statistics from his brief rookie campaign. Watson was electric in 2017 as he threw for 19 touchdowns and had a 103 passer rating. Watson makes difficult plays look easy with his sleekness and arm strength.
When Watson was the starter, the Houston Texans led the league in scoring by averaging about 30 points per game. This is all thanks to the scheme written up by head coach Bill O’Brien. The offense was tailored to Watson’s strengths by running zone reads, play fakes and quick routes to help his offense advance the ball down the field. Watson has the charisma, play making ability and work ethic to become a future MVP of the NFL.
However, he does have some health issues looming over his head. Watson’s rookie season with the Houston Texans ended with his second ACL tear in four years. Both knees have been surgically repaired and these injuries are obviously severe enough to where it could affect his unique playing style in the future.
Another unknown is how will he perform when defenses have tape on him and teams will be able to scheme for his dynamic style of play. If Watson can return to the Houston Texans in the form he was in during the 2017 season, he will be at the top of this list. The fate of the Houston Texans’ season rests on No. 4.
1. Andrew Luck
Serious injuries have plagued Andrew Luck‘s six-year career in the NFL. Luck has not thrown a single pass in an NFL game since the last week of the 2016 season. He has also not played a full 16-game season since 2014. Based on his body of work, it does not feel right to put any other quarterback in this division higher than Luck. Luck is a generational quarterback that can do virtually anything on the football field. The last serving sample NFL fans had of Luck in 2016 was nothing short of spectacular.
Luck was able to carry a poor Colts team to an 8-8 record. In the 2016 season, Luck threw for 4,240 yards while throwing for an exceptional 31 touchdowns to 13 interceptions. The most impressive statistic of that year is that he had an outstanding 96.4 QBR while being protected by a questionable offensive line.
In 2014, he led a mediocre Colts’ team to an AFC title game where he threw for 40 touchdowns in a single season. Luck is an accurate passer that can make any throw on the field. For a pocket passer, he also has sneaky athleticism.
The big question is, will Luck be the same quarterback he once was? It looks like Luck will be the starting quarterback come Week 1 as he has recently started throwing. Expect Luck to remain at the top of the best quarterbacks in the NFL if proven to be healthy.
The Houston Texans are scheduled to face the Colts on the road during Week 4 which will take place Sep. 28.
Well that’s my stand, what’s yours? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below.
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Houston Texans: Jalen Ramsey’s latest riff about Deshaun Watson
What’s there to say about Jalen Ramsey’s latest riff about Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson? Let’s discuss this further.
Houston Texans faithful — Jalen Ramsey had recently had an interview with GQ Magazine in which he was asked about his opinion on quarterbacks around the league and in perfect fashion, he clearly personified himself without holding back. First, he was asked who he thought were the good quarterbacks in the league and this is what he said:
“Aaron Rodgers does not. Tom Brady doesn’t. I gotta think now, about all the teams … I think Marcus Mariota is a great quarterback for their team. I think Tyrod Taylor is actually a better quarterback than he gets credit for.”
He then followed that up by saying he was still unsure about Jimmy Garoppolo but then stated this:
“Deshaun Watson, he’ll be the league MVP in a couple years. One hundred percent. There’s not even a debate about that. Him and Carson Wentz, for every year starting now until five to ten years, it’s gonna be them two. They’re that good.”
This is extremely high praise from somebody who does not give out many compliments, especially considering he plays for the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Houston Texans’ division rival. But if anybody has a first-hand perspective of how good Watson really is, it’s him. Ramsey is going into his third season as a professional but has emerged as one of the league’s most talented and outspoken players as of late.
The great thing is that these two teams will meet twice a year and a Hopkins/Ramsey match twice a year is as exciting as it gets in the division. Ramsey is a prolific cover corner with tremendous play making abilities and also is notorious for being one of the league’s best trash talkers. It will be interesting to see how Hopkins handles Ramsey’s tactics and how the two go at each other because it will be a competitive battle for years to come.
That’s how I feel, what about you? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below.
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Houston Texans: Preseason Week 1: Fantasy Football Twists and Turns
So just how well did the Houston Texans do fantasy football-wise against the Kansas City Chiefs? Here’s what went down with a quick whip-around of action across the league.
While Drake is asking “Kiki Do You Love Me?” we are taking a closer look at some notable Houston Texans and NFL fantasy news. The first week of preseason is generally less eventful than the subsequent preseason weeks, but there was no shortage of news as every team took the field for the first time in 2018.
For the Houston Texans and their fans, the greatest sight was seeing star quarterback Deshaun Watson back in action in Kansas City. While it was nothing more than a cameo appearance, it confirmed Watson is on track to start opening day and should get more work in the next couple of weeks. Watson still has one of the highest average draft positions among quarterbacks on the Fantasy Football Calculator website at the fourth spot in the fourth round, with only Aaron Rodgers being higher. Some say that’s too high of a spot to take a quarterback, but for those wanting to hitch their wagon to Watson, that’s currently the range to look for him on draft day if he impresses during the rest of the preseason.
After Watson’s comeback, the biggest story for the Houston Texans was rookie tight end Jordan Akins. Fighting with Ryan Griffin, Stephen Anderson, and fellow rookie Jordan Thomas for playing time, Akins hauled in two touchdown passes from Brandon Weeden. Naturally, positive showings in preseason can lead to overreaction. Akins will not be shooting up the tight end rankings just yet. However, at a crowded position for Houston, he at least stood out and for now, becomes someone to watch. The Houston Texans would love to find a solid third target behind DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller.
Speaking of Weeden, he and wide receiver Sammie Coates certainly had their moments. But both players have not impressed in previous regular season stints with other teams. The preseason can be a time to overreact, but it often involves fans getting giddy over youngsters with upside. No one needs to be getting excited about either player at this point in time.
If you want to get excited about another player on offense for the Houston Texans, try running back Troymaine Pope. He caught two passes for 38 yards against the Chiefs and could find a way into the mix behind Lamar Miller, especially with little clarity yet on the status of D’Onta Foreman.
And now it’s time to go beyond the Houston Texans and look at some other tidbits from around the league:
Press Your Luck
There was another AFC South team welcoming back an elite quarterback. For the first time since the 2016 season, Andrew Luck was in the lineup for the Indianapolis Colts. Luck saw more playing time than Deshaun Watson, completing six-of-nine passes for 64 yards. The news was not all rosy for Indianapolis, as running back Marlon Mack suffered a hamstring strain that will keep him out of action for a bit and cause even more uncertainly in the Colts backfield. The Colts also lost promising rookie wide receiver Deon Cain for the season.
Nonetheless, Luck’s showing brings some hope back to Indianapolis. Currently at Fantasy Football Calculator, Andrew’s ADP is at the end of the seventh round. That might be too soon for the wait for a quarterback crowd, but it’s not exorbitant for a player of his potential, especially considering you could still draft another safe option after that. Provided everything continues to go smoothly, Luck also makes T.Y. Hilton a safer pick.
One of the most disappointing stories from around the league comes from our nation’s capital, as Washington lost intriguing rookie running back Derrius Guice for the season with a torn ACL. Although Chris Thompson is locked in as Washington’s third-down and passing situation back, Guice was expected to supplant Samaje Perine and Rob Kelley with ease and carry the load for the Redskins.
Complicating matters further for the Redskins is that Thompson is still recovering from a broken leg. It is thought he will be ready for opening day, but it is not an absolute lock. If Thompson can perform like he did last year before getting hurt, he will be the running back on the Redskins you want to have on your team. But what if he’s not ready out of the gate? The onus would probably fall on Perine, who was generally unremarkable last year. For what it’s worth, he did manage over 100 yards and a touchdown against a good Saints team in one start last year and Washington’s first two games are winnable against Arizona and Indianapolis. Volume is volume and if Perine (or Kelley) are going to get a lot of it, they can be a value in the later rounds.
Better Rookie Running Back News
Although there are several rookie running backs capable of making noise in 2018, most of the buzz rightfully centers around Saquon Barkley. Barkley, the one rookie regularly going in the first round of fantasy drafts, is currently dealing with a hamstring strain that is not believed to be serious. And let’s hope it not, because the former Penn State product showcased his skills on his very first carry, rushing for 39 yards. It can risky to bank on a rookie so early in a draft, but as long as he’s healthy, Barkley looks like he will be worth the risk.
On a night where the Denver Broncos seemingly reached the point of no return with quarterback Paxton Lynch, Royce Freeman was a bright spot. The former Oregon Duck rushed for 38 yards and a touchdown on four carries, highlighted by a 23-yard touchdown run. Devontae Booker has not done enough during his first two seasons to have any kind of stranglehold on the starting job. Defense are going to have to respect the pass more in the Mile High City with Case Keenum taking over at quarterback, which ought to help open things up with the running game. Currently with a late fourth-round ADP at Fantasy Football Calculator, Freeman’s ceiling is getting higher.
Let’s Talk David, not Goliaths
Always bad but rarely boring, the supposedly improving Cleveland Browns are generating tons of headlines. Some of it is from Hard Knocks. Some of it is from polarizing quarterback Baker Mayfield and questions about how soon he will take over as Cleveland’s starter. Some of it is their ongoing dalliance with Dez Bryant and the mystery of Josh Gordon’s whereabouts. And then there is rookie receiver Antonio Callaway, who seems to habitually be found at the intersection of crime and scene.
So let’s talk about someone on the Browns who seems to be just playing ball and doing well at it. Second-year tight end David Njoku, who showed promise as a rookie by scoring four touchdowns, made two visits to the end zone last Thursday against the New York Giants. It often takes longer for tight ends to find their stride and Njoku seems to be finding his. Jarvis Landry should rightfully be the top target for Cleveland quarterbacks, but outside of last year when he scored nine touchdowns, Landry has never been a big touchdown generator. We have no idea if Gordon will be a factor or again fade away. Callaway could be a star or get suspended for a long period of time. And Bryant, if he is brought in, did not exactly dazzle in Dallas last year. Add it all up and Njoku could lead a better Browns team in touchdown receptions. You could take him as your second tight end and potentially get a steal.
He’s David, but Also a Goliath
Since his injury involved a wrist and not a knee, there has been very little reason to be antsy about the return of star Arizona running back David Johnson. Nevertheless, for those who had doubts, Johnson was phenomenal in a limited appearance against the Los Angeles Chargers, carrying the ball twice for 28 yards. Roundly considered to be a top five fantasy player by most experts, Johnson is usually behind the likes of Todd Gurley, Le’Veon Bell, and Ezekiel Elliott on many draft boards. He has the potential to outplay them all. Consider yourself fortunate if you have the fourth pick and Johnson is there.
In Denver, Kirk Cousins performed on Minnesota’s opening drive of the preseason like he had already played in the Twin Cities for several seasons. The drive culminated in a touchdown drive to playoff hero Stefon Diggs, who hauled in three receptions from Cousins for 35 yards. Cousins, a respectable fantasy option in Washington, is an ideal target for owners who want to wait a bit on draft day to snag a signal caller but not wait too long. With Diggs, Adam Thielen, and Kyle Rudolph, Cousins has a superior supporting cast than he had in Washington. It would be hard for Cousins to flop with that trio backing him up. Even if Minnesota has a stronger ground game with Dalvin Cook returning after missing most of his rookie season, Cousins will be dependable. Currently the eighth quarterback being drafted at Fantasy Football Calculator with a seventh-round ADP, adding Cousins after loading up at other positions could vault your squad into championship contention.
So what do you think? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!
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Houston Texans: 2018 Preseason Game 1: Defensive Grades vs. Chiefs
Who were the shining stars on defense in the Houston Texans’ first preseason game? Robert and Brian hit on the studs and duds in the latest Pro Football Focus grades. Plus, we go one-on-one with special teams guru Johnson Bademosi.
He tells us about meeting a Houston sports legend, explains his work in “American Football Without Borders” and gives us the keys to being a standout special teams player.
Plus, you’ll hear about the near impossible path a new Houston Texans tight end took to the NFL.
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Houston Texans: 2018 Preseason Game 1: Offensive Grades vs. Chiefs
So just how well did the Houston Texans do on offense this past Thursday against the Kansas City Chiefs? Rob and Brian talk about that plus give insight on the Houston Texans offensive linemen that are trending up or down.
Who were the other stars of the offense outside of Jordan Akins and Brandon Weeden? The duo also discusses a life moment that has followed the team’s latest acquisition as well as Hue Jackson‘s unusual punishment of a player violating NFL rules. Take a listen to find out more!
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