Can the Offensive Line Protect Deshaun Watson?
The Texans, as good as they were last season, had one glaring flaw. That was their absolutely dreadful offensive line, that seemingly let defenses have a free pass at Watson every play. Watson is one of the most mobile quarterbacks in the league, and still he got sacked the most times in the league. The Texans did work on their offensive line a bit, drafting offensive tackle Tytus Howard in the 1st round, then drafting another offensive tackle, Max Scharping, in the 2nd. Whether these additions can pay off is critical, as the Texans are playing with fire letting Watson get hit so much. We’ve seen what the Texans offense is like without Watson and it isn’t pretty. While the offensive line should be better, there’s only so much rookies can give, so don’t expect them to suddenly become the Cowboys.
Will Jadeveon Clowney Get a New Deal?
The Texans have one of the best defensive lines in the league, but they could lose a critical part of it if they can’t come to an agreement with Jadeveon Clowney. Clowney may not have been quite as dominant as people were expecting after being drafted 1st overall, but he’s still a very good player, having 9 sacks or more his past two seasons. He pairs well with J.J. Watt, and though he may not be worth Aaron Donald or Khalil Mack money, he isn’t a player the Texans can easily replace. Clowney seems to be willing to hold out for a new deal, and even leave the team a la Le’veon Bell if need be. The Texans probably don’t want to give Clowney a long-term deal worth 20 million or more annually but might not have a choice given their position. Considering their context, the Texans should be willing to overpay if they believe it can help extend their championship window. Clowney isn’t worth 20 million in a vacuum, but thanks to Watson’s cheap contract, they should be willing and able to swallow it for the sake of contention.
Is Bill O’Brien a Championship Caliber Coach?
When the Texans got off to a rocky start last season, there were some pretty loud whispers surrounding Bill O’Brien’s job security. They died down when the Texans went on a massive win streak soon after, but concerns persist. Bill O’Brien seems to be a coach that has the respect of his players, yet he’s been criticized for a lack of ingenuity on offense and for being too conservative. If the Texans ultimate goal is to win it all, they need to make a long-term decision on O’Brien’s place on the team. Watson will be due for a big contract soon, so they won’t have cap flexibility for long. If they don’t think that O’Brien is a guy that can win it all, they should fire him as soon as they can to try and minimize the damage done. They’ve been sending mixed messages about O’Brien for years, but now that they’re in a position to contend, they can’t be so non-committal anymore.