The Houston Texans suffered their third-straight season with 4 or fewer wins in 2022, resulting in the franchise overhauling its teaching workers for the second consecutive offseason. After hiring head coach DeMeco Ryans and including quarterback C.J. Stroud and go rusher Will Anderson Jr. with the second and third total picks within the 2023 NFL Draft, the Texans have a buzz round them.
With that in thoughts, we dive into what the very best and worst-case eventualities are for the Texans in 2023.
Predicting the Finest-Case State of affairs for the Houston Texans’ 2023 NFL Season
One of the best-case state of affairs for any group that has mixed for 11 wins during the last three seasons isn’t going to be considerably spectacular. Ryans has already admitted he’s adjusting to being a head coach and never solely centered on the protection. There might be many different first-time hurdles and rising pains alongside the way in which.
Some first-year head coaches see quick success, however these hopes ought to be tempered even when Ryans was a superb rent. He’s already setting his sights on growing a tradition for 2023, noting they should “prove they belong” earlier than specializing in different targets. Common supervisor Nick Caserio admitted he doesn’t count on the hiring of Ryans to be a “quick fix.”
Houston’s win complete at DraftKings Sportsbook is 6.5, they usually’re -700 to overlook the playoffs. Whereas it might assist that the Texans have the fifth-easiest schedule within the league, it is a younger teaching workers and roster. Child steps ought to be anticipated.
C.J. Stroud Proves Prepared Instantly
One of the best case for the Texans’ season revolves across the improvement of Stroud and the passing sport. Incumbent Davis Mills was unable to create any form of influence within the two years he began beneath middle.
Whereas a part of that was the dearth of nice scheme, blocking, and playmaking round him, the Texans ought to’ve completed higher than to complete thirtieth in scoring in 2022, contemplating that they had a star rusher in Dameon Pierce and a stable receiver in Brandin Cooks.
Although Ryans has been emphatic that he’s not anticipating Stroud to be a savior, he’s been fast to reward his “eye-opening” progress so far. Even with Cooks now in Dallas, the Texans ought to see progress on offense with Pierce set to star in a San Francisco-style working sport and Stroud as a way more dynamic and correct playmaker than Mills beneath middle.
Nobody might be frightened of the Texans’ receiving corps straight away, however it’s a deeper group than it was final yr. Younger gamers Nico Collins, John Metchie III, and Tank Dell have good ability units that may stand out in a West Coast offense. However they’re younger, so there’s an unknown issue with every.
At finest, Metchie will bounce again from his bout with most cancers and develop into a stable contributor. Dell’s lightning-fast quickness will make him a slot star, and veteran Robert Woods will be Stroud’s security valve when the group has to maneuver the chains.
Pierce might be a focus in a really pleasant run scheme behind an improved offensive line, so this offense could possibly be common after being putrid for 3 years.
DeMeco Ryans Maximizes Younger Defensive Expertise
In fact, Ryans’ influence on the protection issues as effectively. He already has made plans to maneuver Anderson to a 4-3 finish full-time after the No. 3 total choose performed as a 3-4 edge rusher via most of his profession at Alabama. Contemplating how a lot the Texans traded for Anderson, he needs to be a foundational piece for the protection rapidly and for a very long time.
The remainder of the protection can fall in place round an impactful Anderson. Secondary go rushers like Jonathan Greenard and Dylan Horton should step up as effectively. Second-year center linebacker Christian Harris has to seem like a long-term asset for the group as effectively.
Veterans like Sheldon Rankins, Maliek Collins, Denzel Perryman, and Cory Littleton assist increase the ground of the unit to be respectable even when they’re not transformative. The identical will be mentioned for defensive backs Jimmie Ward, Steven Nelson, and Desmond King. Ward was essentially the most notable addition this offseason, as he’s already earned the defensive captain position from Ryans.
The give attention to the again finish would be the continued improvement of second-year defensive backs Derek Stingley Jr. and security Jalen Pitre. Each confirmed flashes final yr, and if each can proceed to develop into plus or star-level performers, the Texans can develop into a median protection sooner than anticipated.
Predicting the Worst-Case State of affairs for the Texans’ 2023 NFL Season
There’s a variety of stress not solely on younger gamers to make an early influence on Houston in 2023 to succeed in their best-case state of affairs but additionally on journeymen veterans. Houston has seen little or no high quality manufacturing from veterans since Caserio was employed in 2021. A brand new teaching workers might help get extra out of returning veterans, however it’s not as if Houston has high-upside veterans.
Free agent signings like Woods and Littleton could show to be full busts, contemplating how gradual every regarded in 2022. Perryman is a productive tackler, however neither he, Nelson, King, or Rankins are people who produce turnovers or damaging performs for the offense. Every is a task participant who merely raises the competence inside a unit barely.
The Offense’s Youth Reveals
The load of enchancment actually comes right down to very younger playmakers who’ve both completed little or nothing. Tight finish Dalton Schultz is an efficient go catcher however is coming off a down season the place he didn’t step up for a Dallas group that was desperately needing his contributions. The inside offensive line needs to be significantly better after buying and selling for Shaq Mason and drafting Juice Scruggs.
At worst, the Texans’ offense will merely be too younger to be drastically higher. Both Stroud received’t be able to play for a while or will play poorly as he struggles to regulate to a nasty receiving corps.
The offensive line, which has struggled with accidents to deal with Laremy Tunsil, might fail if Kenyon Inexperienced doesn’t present competence in his second yr and if Mason’s play continues to dip as he ages.
The Texans merely don’t have a lot offensive depth. Dropping Pierce for any period of time will thrust Devin Singletary into the beginning RB position — a task he’s mediocre at. Plus, the dearth of one other star-level expertise might chew the group in key moments.
The Protection Hasn’t Improved
Houston allotted extra property to the offensive facet of the ball this offseason, avoiding a splurge on long-term investments. Ryans is a wonderful coach however doesn’t have the deep array of expertise that San Francisco handed him. If Anderson isn’t a star straight away, it’s onerous to see a path to this unit being higher than under common.
The one different notable long-term gamers on it are Pitre and presumably Stingley. Greenard and Harris should show themselves, however the remainder of the unit is constructed on stopgaps. There’s an actual threat of harm or subpar play from every of the veteran fliers added.
If the protection doesn’t uncover a star or play to the collective ceiling of every particular person, it is going to be unhealthy.