Here are some quick thoughts of this upcoming season, and we mean early thoughts on the Houston Texans.
-T.J. Yates will have competition in camp this year pushing him to see if he could be the quarterback of this team. Yates will be on alert during draft time with rumors flying the Texans could be looking for a young quarterback to groom, if the opportunity presents itself.
- Andre Johnson will finally get help and the wide receiver group will have a slight face lift going into the 2013 season, with the chance of three new wide receivers on the opening 53 man roster. Andre Johnson, Keshawn Martin and DeVier Posey are going to be safe, but Kevin Walter and Lestar Jean will be fighting for their jobs. There is a good chance Posey could be starting the season on the PUP list after his Achilles injury, so that is where the third wide receiver comes into play.
- Connor Barwin and Glover Quin will get paid, the only issue is the Texans have to choose which one they will keep. Both could make the draft board more interesting for the Texans on draft night and change their thinking as an organization when free agency opens up. Barwin staying could bump Brooks Reed inside, but the Texans have not closed the door on tagging Glover Quin for the 2013 season. One factor that should not be overlooked is the fact that the NFL cap number will be up during the 2015 season, so back loaded contracts could be the answer for the Texans moving forward that will give them a chance to keep both.
- Matt Schaub will be the quarterback at least the next two seasons. The team understands at this current moment Schaub is the best option for the Texans to win football games. Despite being guaranteed a little over $29 million for four seasons, Schaub will be a reasonable contract moving forward the next few seasons. The Texans may look committed to Schaub, but in the NFL nothing is set in stone year to year.
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- The offensive line will be retooled for the 2013 season according to critics, but that will not happen. The offensive line will change the least heading into the season with only a swing tackle to challenge Derek Newton, the real need at the moment. The offensive line is set with the veterans Duane Brown, Wade Smith and Chris Myers, and has the young legs of Brandon Brooks, Ben Jones, Derek Newton and Cody White. The depth is there and will be counted on to improve as a group.
- Ben Tate will be traded before the start of the season, could and would be a mistake by the Texans. Tate's value is at an all time low and in 2012 he was non existent after a breakout 2011 season. In order for the Texans to make a playoff run further than the divisional round, they will need Tate to help Arian Foster with the rushing workload. Tate's value will come in his free agency year if the team cannot resign him and he leaves via free agency. If he puts together a solid 2013 season, a compensatory pick for the second rounder could be in order, but keeping Tate gives this offense the best running back tandem.
- Darryl Sharpton is 100% healthy and ready to start at inside linebacker during the 2013 season. Three seasons and all three have had him end up on the injured reserve with multiple injures (Shoulder, Quad, Hip). The clean bill of health has been given to Sharpton and he is already talking about playing next to Brian Cushing for the upcoming season. The Texans learned the hard way last season what happens when you miscalculate injuries and they were forced to use 4 different players at inside linebacker not named Cushing. The myth is that Sharpton is all of a sudden not a health risk that should start, but the Texans better find insurance in the draft or free agency that can be better than what they used in 2012.
- Manti Te'o talked to over 20 teams at the NFL Combine, it's no big deal. The bigger deal is the fact the Texans were the FIRST team to talk to Te'o in Indianapolis, which is the bigger deal. The team talked to
Te'o before any other teams could and before the workouts and the huge media crush that tried to punch holes in him. Everyone wants to be first in line at no matter what they do, going to the water fountain or at the bus stop to get that elusive seat, there is a reason the Texas talked to him first. Maybe not to draft him or maybe to put the final touches on their evaluation, but being the first team to talk to the prospect that was going to be the center of attention is intriguing.