Monday, December 29, 2014

Houston Texans: When Middle of the Pack is A-OK

Sunday morning, I woke up, checked my Twitter account, and found a couple of angry tweets from a Texans fan suggesting that I "eat crow" as well as a infographic illustrating how I can shove my opinion up my backside. 

Normally, I would just ignore this and go on about my business. However, this guy did two things wrong: 1. He spelled my name wrong. 2. He didn't even get my position on the Texans record correct. While it's true that I predicted the team would go 5-11 this season I also added this disclaimer:

I will say this, I believe that 5-11 is the FLOOR for the Texans and not the ceiling. The ceiling is 8-8 although, for draft picks, that could be just about the worst-case scenario since it would probably mean that the Texans will be out of the running for any of the top QB's in next year's draft.
So, when all is said and done I was one game away from their final result.

Picking NFL games at the beginning of the season is a crap-shoot at best, and should be treated as such. I think it's wise to establish a range and then live with it.  To my way of thinking, the Texans range this last year was 5-11 to 8-8.  That they outplayed (slightly) what many thought to be their ceiling in the face of several injuries speaks volumes regarding the coaching job turned in by Bill O'Brien and his staff.

As it stands I picked 5 of 8 Division champions which is higher than 50% so I'm very happy on that front.  Teams that surprised me were the Texans (discussed), Pittsburgh, Dallas and the Panthers. Teams that turned out to be worse than I thought were the Ravens, Bengals and Eagles.

Now that all is said and done, and with the benefit of perfect 20/20 hindsight, I think the final record of the Texans is just about where they should be.  Throughout the team's history the norm has been somewhere around .500, with a few variations either up (or down) that has led this to be one of the more average teams in the league.

After 13 seasons of play the combined record for the Texans is 88-120-0 in the regular season. In the playoffs the team is 2-2 all time, having made the playoffs in 2011 and 2012 so overall 9-7 is a good year.

The question now is whether or not slightly above average, the Texans will have the 16th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, will be good enough for General Manager Rick Smith to keep his job?

Heading into 2015 the Texans have more questions than answers. O'Brien seems like a quality NFL coach, they are now expected to bring Arian Foster back, one would think they also bring back C Chris Meyers but after that it's a crap-shoot.

Brooks Reed is probably going to be wearing another uniform next year as will Andre Johnson unless both players take huge pay cuts.  The Texans will still be dealing with salary cap problems this off-season but not to the degree that they have the last two years. Heading into the draft the list of needs will probably by much the same as in 2014 (which is concerning) and include QB, OL, LB, DB & WR. If Foster's hamstring issues are worse than expected you can add RB to that list as well.

Minus any breaking news today I'm expecting that Rick Smith will again be in charge of the Texans draft process, a fact that has to be discouraging for fans.

That aside, this was a good season for the Texans and, coming off the 2-14 disaster that was 2014 it is hoped that the future is looking up. 

As for my opinions?  Well, I'm not shoving them up my backside and I'm not eating crow today. Overall I think my opinions regarding the matter were pretty much spot on.

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