The Texans offense last season lacked consistent explosive plays. The coaching staff used an old school philosophy of basing the offense on the running game. Using the run to set up the pass and allow the running backs to dictate the game. Teams have been using the running game to set up the pass for years, so what Houston did last season is nothing new, but is it enough?
It is no secret the passing game for Houston was lackluster while the running game thrived. The combination of Brock Osweiler and Tom Savage compiled the leagues 29th ranked passing attack. With just 198.5 passing yards per game, the only teams that were worse were Buffalo, Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco. This is also known as not good.
Osweiler completed 59 percent of his passes while Savage completed 63. Their combined completed percentage of 59.5 would place them tied for 25th with Denver’s Trevor Siemian. Osweiler’s 15 touchdown passes last season places him tied for 27th in the league with Kansas City’s Alex Smith. For a team with Super Bowl aspirations, this ineptitude in the passing game is not a welcome sign.
Where Houston thrived last season was running the ball. The Texans finished eighth in the NFL with 116.2 rushing yards per game. They were also eighth in total rushing yards on the season with 1859. Led by Lamar Miller’s 1073 rushing yards and his healthy four yards per carry average, Houston made it clear it looked to run the ball early and often.
What has become abundantly clear in the recent years, it is that teams that have a poor passing attack have little to no chance to win the Super Bowl. Houston hopes they have taken the necessary steps in making their passing game from bad to good. Selecting Deshaun Watson in the first round of the NFL Draft with hopes that he is the key to long term playoff success. Watson enjoyed a multitude of success at Clemson and the Texans are positive this will translate well to the NFL level.
The decline of DeAndre Hopkins last season is absolutely tied the poor performance in the passing game. Hopkins was an up and comer in the league with average at best quarterback play. Quarterbacks such as Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brian Hoyer, these are the type of guys who are not elite by any means, but they are more than capable of getting the job done.
What happened in the playoffs last season was no fault of the offense or defense. As every team the Patriots played quickly learned, they are really good. Running into that buzz saw was a no-win scenario. Even with average quarterback play, Houston still would have lost. New England was just too good.
The Texans are preparing for the future. A future that hopefully does not include Tom Brady still playing in New England and where Watson has developed into an above average quarterback. With their already elite rushing game they have a good foundation. With a potential above average passing game Houston could be dangerous. Houston hopes that Watson can unlock the potential of all of their receivers and transform the team into a contender.