Examining if Texans' latest decision is about optics or righting the ship
The Houston Texans have a 1-6 record as of this writing. They've been outscored 62-8 in their last two games. The offense is averaging a paltry 13.9 points per game. The only team worse than that is the New York Jets (13.3). Injuries and really poor play have plagued this team so far. Whether it's on offense, defense, or special teams, there have been mishaps. Left tackle Laremy Tunsil, arguably the team's best player, is out after having thumb surgery. With so much going wrong, how can the Texans possibly right the ship?
With the news of quarterback Tyrod Taylor returning from IR after suffering a hamstring injury, this could help spell the end of the futility. Taylor's status for Sunday is still up in the air, but one would assume he will return to action in the next couple of weeks, if not Sunday. Third round rookie Davis Mills has tried to step up in Taylor's place, but hasn't worked out so far. He only had 11 starts at Stanford. This was supposed to be a "redshirt" year for him as he sat behind Taylor to get acclimated to the game. Seeing as how bad things are going, could Taylor returning to the starting lineup help right the ship?
The Texans aren't just losing, they're getting blown out regularly
General manager Nick Caserio has put his stamp on this team, despite being given a less than favorable set of circumstances. While the season appears to be lost and a high draft pick is seemingly the target to help rebuild, no one wants to look this bad. Every week being an overwhelming underdog must be exhausting. This team averages losing by more than two touchdowns every week. When Caserio took over this job, he signed a number of vets to short-term contracts in order to fill out the roster and help create a culture change.
Taylor was expected to come in and model what a pro is like at the most important position on the field. He would ensure the offense ran efficiently enough to compete. His injury coincided with the offense's inability to put together consistent drives and score effectively. It's gotten so bad, that the defense has suffered. The defense was one of the bright spots for this team. They started to create turnovers and would give the offense hope by putting them in more favorable positions. But with the offense sputtering, the defense soon followed. As the glaring mistakes and missed opportunities mounted, so did the team's embarrassing losses.
If Taylor can return to practice and be cleared to play, it may give this team a shot in the arm it so desperately needs. Guys like rookie receiver Nico Collins could stand to benefit from a veteran presence at quarterback. He has a chance to be a good receiver in this league, but his growth is stunted by subpar play at quarterback. Mills got his shot to prove what he can do. While there were flashes of what he could become, the flashes weren't enough. Perhaps he can develop into something when he's surrounded by better talent. For now, Taylor is the best option at quarterback when healthy. Losing may be the goal in order to attain a higher draft pick, but looking like a team with hope while doing so is the expectation. Getting that high pick to assist with the rebuild is nice, but giving the fans hope that this team will compete every week should also be a priority.