The Rundown: Texans Top Team Needs Heading Into 2020
Patrick D. Starr
The offseason is upon the Houston Texans, and now the real work starts by the front office to get the roster back for the 2020 season. With the Shrine Game, NFLPA Bowl, and the Senior Bowl on tap before the NFL Combine, the Texans, along with the rest of the NFL teams will go into their most crucial phase in trying to locate players they deem fits for their franchise.
There will be changes within the building. Coaches will be shuffled, and other things will be tweaked to prepare for the next step to start evaluating players heading into the draft season.
How will the Texans improve? The Texans need to look at their top issues on their current roster and figure how to address those moving forward towards next season.
Top Texans' Needs Entering 2020
The exit of Jadeveon Clowney before the season plus the health of J.J. Watt left the Texans searching for a presence off the edge to rush the quarterback.
They need pass rushers. The defense was able to produce 31 sacks on the season, which tied them for the lowest total in the O'Brien era.
The Texans' pass rush was weak with just Watt and Whitney Mercilus. Mercilus is more of an ancillary player that works well within the scheme and can do it all. He needs others on the field to draw attention to get him into one-on-one matchups.
It took too long for Jacob Martin to win over Romeo Crennel despite him showing that he could rush the passer. Martin was able to show life in the last quarter of the season off the edge. In the last six games of the season, he was able to produce 4.5 sacks and seven quarterback hits.
Charles Omenihu showed he could help either on edge or the interior as a pass rusher, but he will have to continue to refine his technique to be part of the rotation.
The defense needs to find more life as a group. Finding a rookie they can develop would be the best bet, and with Mercilus recent deal, he will be the veteran to help lead the young group moving forward.
Carlos Hyde came in and did an admirable job, but they need an even more dynamic back to pair with Duke Johnson for the coming seasons.
The Texans are going to give Karan Higdon, Jr. another shot in a camp, which is a positive.
Johnson will return to the offense as their primary pass-catcher out of the backfield. It will be up to the coaching staff to find a way to evolve his role with the offense over the offseason.
The big question will be if the Texans bring back Carlos Hyde for the coming season. Hyde signed a one year deal with Kansas City before being traded to the Texans right before the start of the season. Hyde has already expressed his want to return to the Texans, but his deal will have to team-friendly to keep him around.
Part of the reason to keep Hyde around is to continue to have an offensive unit with cohesion. Part of the issue for the Texans is the constant change of personnel from season to season around Deshaun Watson, causing issues as a group.
Lamar Miller is coming off ACL surgery and is set to become a free agent leaving his status up in the air to return to the team.
On the other hand, the Texans could want a more explosive back to team with Johnson as their one-two punch for the offense.
What the Texans do at running back will be something to monitor moving forward.
The Texans need a specific one with the speed that can push Will Fuller either for his roster spot or to improve his availability for the regular season.
The offense can not keep going week to week, wondering if their most important scheme player is healthy or not. The Texans offense was a shell of itself without Fuller on the field, and that is a flawed scheme if it would not function without Fuller.
The Texans need to find a player similar to Fuller that can take the top off the defense, forcing him to either get with the program or the Texans to move on from him.
The depth at the beginning of the season looked like a strength for the Texans, but only DeAndre Hopkins remained the one constant for them they could depend on.
Kenny Stills missed time, Keke Coutee could not get on the field, and DeAndre Carter was played out of necessity.
The Texans need to tweak their wide receiver group to help Hopkins once again.
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