With just 4 weeks before the start of the season, here's what we know about the Texans
Four weeks from today, the NFL is schedule to begin its season, with the Texans taking on the Kansas City Chiefs. It's unlikely there will be fans, and there is still a good chance it gets delayed, but as of today, the game is on.
With just a month to go, there are uncertainties at every corner. Because practices have been essentially closed, and not conducted as business as usual, there is no way to know how prepared teams will be. With no preseason or scrimmages, there will be nothing to use as a gauge for where teams stand, either for coaches or fans.
So what do we know about the Texans this close to the season?
1) The offensive line should be a strength
For years the worst position group on the field, this particular group has a chance to be top-notch. Laremy Tunsil should be better with a second year in the offense and a chance to work through the off-season after being thrust on the team late in the game last year. Tytus Howard was playing at a very high level when he was injured and should improve. Bill O'Brien even said he believes Howard will make a jump. "A lot of times, like I've said in the past, these guys, they do take a big jump from Year 1 to Year 2, and hopefully we see that with Tytus." Max Scharping should improve off a solid rookie campaign. Center Nick Martin and guard Zach Fulton are average at best, but if they get above average play at the other three positions, it will help the line as a whole. Not a lot of teams in the league have plus-offensive lines.
2) Is O'Brien on to something?
The Texans coach does not like to play rookies in a normal year. But he built this roster with an eye toward veterans because the preparation will not be the same. Whether it works or not, he seemed to be on the right path. Of course, that could just be a justification for burning so many draft picks in trades, but the concept makes sense.
3) Room to add?
The Texans still have about $21 million in cap space. If they don't extend Deshaun Watson, there is room to add two more veterans to the roster. If they do extend him, one more could still be added. The secondary could use some help, so don't be surprised if another addition happens before the start of the season.
4) Rookie coordinators is a bit of a concern.
Tim Kelly and Anthony Weaver might be world-class coordinators someday. But both are essentially rookies when it comes to play calling duties. That can't be a positive with less time to prepare for the season. They also have a new special teams coordinator. Playcallers need action and reps as much as players, especially new ones. It may be mid-season before they can find their stride.
5) What we can expect.
Obviously, counting on Will Fuller to be healthy is like counting on the Rona to disappear tomorrow. But if he can contribute, the offense has a chance to be explosive. Defensively, however, they have not really done anything to improve a unit that has been abysmal for the last few years. It's all guesswork now, but this should be a high scoring offense and a leaky defense. What does all that mean? It's hard to tell, but we are only a month away from getting answers.