Will the Texans be able to compete in a much more talented AFC conference this upcoming season?
The offseason additions of Davante Adams, Russell Wilson, Amari Cooper, Khalil Mack, Robert Woods, and Matt Ryan, all from the NFC, size certain AFC teams up to be big playoff contenders. With the increasing talent of the AFC and the authoritative likes of the AFC West, The Texans will look to hold their own against rest of the conference this upcoming season.
A Successful Offseason
While the rest of the AFC has been adequately praised for their offseason moves, the Texans have also quietly had a successful free agency period and NFL Draft. With new additions of first-round picks, Derek Stingley and Kenyon Green as well as second-round picks, Jalen Pitre and John Metchie III, Houston is rightfully hopeful as the 2022-2023 season approaches. Above all, several key areas of need have been addressed heading into next year.
Firstly, in order to resolve much-needed secondary help from the loss of Justin Reid, draft selections Derek Stingley (LSU) and Jalen Pitre (Baylor) are expected be a dominant force when paired with the likes of Desmond King and Tavierre Thomas. The Texans fielded the lowest-graded secondary in the NFL in the 2021-2022 season. However, the newly added youth should allow the unit to greatly improve upon this low ranking.
Rookie guard Kenyon Green will also play an important part in the upcoming season and aid the ever-developing offensive line. After showing some progress in 2020, the Texans offensive line went through a rough stint in 2021. The five starters that played in the opening game against the Jacksonville Jaguars accounted for just 46 of a possible 85 starts last season. As a result, the offensive line was unable to find a solid rhythm.
Hopefully, after joining right tackle, Laremy Tunsil, newly resigned center, Justin Britt, and left guard, Tytus Howard, Kenyon Green will dominate and improve last season’s 29th ranked offensive line.
The biggest key to a successful season next year will be the development of Texans quarterback, Davis Mills. As a third round rookie, Mills made a surprising stand in the 2021 season with passer rating of 88.8, placing him firmly in the 20th spot among the other 32 starting quarterbacks. Overall, Mills went 2-9 as a starter. However, it is important to note that over the final games of the 2021 season, the Texans decided to reinsert Mills into the starting lineup. The 6-4, 225-pound QB posted a record of 2-3, logging a 9-2 touchdown to interception ratio and a 102.4 passer rating. If those numbers stay consistent through the upcoming season, the Atlanta-native could prove to be a formidable threat.
A Bright Texans Future
The final part of a successful season is the schedule. The Texans rank 19th in the difficulty of schedule in the NFL and 11th in the AFC. The Bengals, Chiefs, Raiders, Chargers, and Steelers produce the top five in terms of difficulty of schedule and the Dolphins, Ravens, Titans, Jaguars, and Colts round out the bottom five of the AFC teams. Of the seventeen games played in the regular season, eight of them are played at home. With a moderately difficult schedule ahead, it’s hard to predict exactly how well the Texans will perform next year, despite a solid offseason
That being said, the front office, players, fans, and organization as a whole remains hopeful as September 8th, the first game of the regular season, draws nearer. With many holes fixed on the offensive line, secondary, and coaching staff, there is a lot to look forward to as an organization. Perhaps most of all, a composed and positive quarterback in Davis Mills looking to prove himself in year two. As fans wish for an exciting season, they might just be satisfied with finally having an optimistic look at the Texans organization after years of disappointment.
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