The 2017 Houston Texans: A eulogy

Dearly departed, we are gathered here today to mourn the loss of one of the most electrifying, entertaining and exillerating teams in the NFL.

This team proved they could hang with the best in the league on both offense and defense. They earned their stripes early, and were the epitome of “next man up.”

Today, we grieve the death of the 2017 Houston Texans’ season.


TexansThe stage could not have been set more perfectly at the beginning of the season.

Defensive end J.J. Watt was making his triumphant return to the gridiron after playing in just three games in 2016.

The Texans cashed in a first-round pick on former Clemson quarterback and College Football Playoff National Champion Deshaun Watson, and spent a third-round pick on former Texas running back D’Onta Foreman, fresh off of a 2,000-yard season.

And, at first, everything looked alright. Watt clearly hadn’t completely recovered from his previous injuries, but the fact that he was on the field showed that his rehab was taking a step in the right direction.

Watson took over for Tom Savage after a brutal first half against the Jacksonville Jaguars and flashed the ability to make plays with his arm as well as his feet.

Foreman’s touches were limited, but he usually made the most of his chances and proved he could thump through the trenches as a pro, just as he did in college.

Then, the unthinkable happened. One by one, they all went down.


Watt was playing in his fifth game of the season when he got bit by the injury bug. He’d racked up 15 tackles entering a home matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs. On the opening drive of the game, he suffered a tibial plateau fracture in his left leg and was later ruled out for the season. The Texans lost the game and fell to 2-3 on the season.

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R.I.P. J.J. Watt, 10/08/17

Luckily, Houston still had big-time players to keep them afloat. Watson showed promise and was starting to build chemistry with his receivers. He led the Texans in a victory over the Browns and narrowly defeated the Seattle Seahawks. He was well on his way to winning Rookie of the Year. Houston was 3-4, not completely out of the playoff picture, but certainly heading that way.

Then, during a Thursday practice, Watson tore his ACL and was also ruled out for the season.

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R.I.P. Deshaun Watson, 11/02/17

Watson’s absence really hurt the Texans, especially on offense. In its next two games, Houston put up just 14 points against the Indianapolis Colts and seven points against the Los Angeles Rams. The team couldn’t quite figure out a winning formula.

Foreman emerged as the solution. Last week against the Arizona Cardinals, the running back ran for 65 yards on 10 carries and scored the first two touchdowns of his young career as the Texans ended up winning the game 31-21. But on his second score, which came in the fourth quarter, Foreman fell to the ground, clutching his left leg.

An MRI the following Monday confirmed that Foreman tore his Achilles tendon and — you guessed it — he was ruled out for the season.

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R.I.P. D’Onta Foreman, 11/19/17

 

The loss of Foreman will cause the Houston offense to sputter even more. Combined with Watson, the pair accounted for more than 50 percent of the Texans’ yards and points. The points category is even more foreboding when you consider that kicker Ka’imi Fairburn holds a 24 percent share.

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Houston’s defense has remained sturdy throughout Watt’s injury, but without him they likely won’t be able to carry the offense back to a .500 record. Wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller V are both studs, but with Tom “Not So” Savage throwing them the ball, it’s clear another dropoff is coming.


And with that, a projected playoff contender’s chances were dashed and its hopes put to bed.

But rather than dwell on the death of the 2017 Houston Texans, let us celebrate the bright potential of what lays ahead. Watson and Foreman can be a lethal 1-2 punch. Watt is still one of the premier defensive lineman in the NFL. Things will get better.

Thank you 2017 Houston Texans for a great early part of the season. We will all sincerely miss you.

-Drew King

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Houston Texans Injury Update

The 2017 season for the Houston Texans began with extreme optimism. After losing the first game of the season to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Texans found their identity rallying around rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson and former NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt. Then, in a week 5 game against the Chiefs, Watt was helped off the field for the final time in 2017 after going down with a season-ending left leg injury.

Another key member of the Texans defense, Whitney Mercilus, will also miss half the season after undergoing chest surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle also suffered in the week 5 loss to the Chiefs.

After putting up career high numbers in a shootout loss in week 9 in Seattle, Deshaun Watson was able to give some hope back to the city of Houston. That hope was taken away less than a week later when Watson tore his ACL in a non-contact injury in practice. Out for the season.

The Texans’ injury woes continue into week 10 of the season, when just last week in a loss against the Rams, Houston’s number two receiver Will Fuller V left the game with cracked ribs and is expected to miss at least one game. The second year receiver out of Notre Dame has caught 17 passes for 326 yards and seven touchdowns this season.

 

Why is Zeke taking heat?

As you may have heard, Dallas Cowboy’s running back Ezekiel Elliott was given a 6 game suspension this past Thursday. This hard road for Elliott began this past summer when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL decided to suspend him for 6 games as a result of physical abuse against his former girlfriend. There was evidence brought forth by the NFL Players Association that proved Elliott to be innocent, yet Goodell is all for “making an example” out of the 22 year old.

Why is he suspended?

Elliott was supposed to begin his suspension at the beginning of the season, but he was determined to fight and clear his name resulting in receiving an injunction in order to continue playing throughout the season. This case has caused him to miss out on team practices and workouts. On November 9 his suspension was reinstated effectively immediately following another injunction hearing. He began his suspension this past Sunday, November 12 where he sat out the matchup between the Cowboys and the Falcons, which helped to contribute to a loss.

What has he missed?

If he continues to sit out, he will miss the games against the Eagles, Chargers, Redskins, Giants, and Raiders. He will also not be allowed to participate with the Cowboys until they are preparing for the matchup against the Seattle Seahawks.

He SHOULD NOT be the league example.

I do not believe that Elliott deserves a 6 game suspension because he was proven innocent. Roger Goodell is trying to make an example out of an innocent young man when there have been so many other NFL players who have been apart of domestic violence who haven’t been used as examples for the league. The fact that two young black men, Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott, are carrying a team so well is a threat to Goodell and the rest of the league.

Life Without JJ: One Month Later

Today represents the one month mark since the Houston Texans lost their most valuable asset: 6′ 5″, 290 lb. defensive end J.J. Watt. Watt’s season was cut short at four games after he left the field after the first drive of Week 5’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs and never returned.

The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year will miss the rest of the season after suffering a fracture of the tibial plateau in his left leg. The Texans wasted no time to get Watt proper care, sending him to the hospital the following day, where he underwent successful surgery to repair the fracture. Fortunately for the Texans and for Watt’s career, Watt suffered no ligament damage in the injury.

The Texans were 2-2 at the time of Watt’s injury before losing Week 5’s game against the Chiefs 42-34. Now, the Texans are in third place in the AFC South with a record of 3-5, entering their second game without star rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson, who tore his ACL in practice last week and will miss the rest of the season.

Watt will look to return to the field stronger than ever next season after missing 25 total games in the last two regular seasons combined.

NFL Draft: Wide Receiver Dilemma

The NFL Draft has a star studded wide receiver cast this year. Full of playmakers, many mock drafts struggle to pin point where exactly the top four prospects will fall. In an attempt to explain why so many scouts struggle to determine who’s the best, I lay out the best and worst of Laquon Treadwell, Corey Coleman, Josh Doctson, and Will Fuller.

Laquon Treadwell

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Treadwell is known to be a possession receiver who has great hands, blocks well, excels after the catch, and wins contested balls. I believe defensive backs will have a hard time tackling the 221 pound receiver, allowing him to succeed at the next level.

Treadwell is recognized for being slower than most wide receivers, shown by his subpar 40- yard dash time.

College: Ole Miss

Projected Draft Spot: Middle 1st– Late 1st

2015 stats: 82 receptions, 1,153 yards,11 touchdowns

Height: 6’2

Weight: 221

40- yard: 4.63 seconds

Vertical: 33 ½ inches

Bench Press (225 pounds): 12 reps

Broad Jump: 9’9”

Corey Coleman

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When his starting quarterback was healthy, Coleman dominated the competition. His great deep play ability, paired with his speed, allows him to potentially score on any reception. His combination of speed and strength make him a prototype slot receiver. Corner backs don’t want to tackle a slot receiver that can bench press 225 pounds for 17 reps.

The fact that he had a lot of dropped balls and used only a few routes in college, leads me to believe teams will think twice before drafting him.

College: Baylor

2015 stats: 74 receptions, 1,363 yards, 20 touchdowns

Projected Draft Spot: Late 1st– 2nd round

Height: 5’11

Weight: 194

40 Yard Dash: 4:37 seconds

Bench Press(225 pounds): 17

Broad Jump: 10’9”

Josh Doctson

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Doctson has great size and leaping ability, essential tools a good red zone threat needs. He is recognized for being acrobatic, shown by his combine vertical leap and broad jump results. What NFL team wouldn’t want a lethal red zone target with good hands?

Docton’s, 40-yard dash time is not amongst the NFL elite. He also ran a limited amount of routes in his collegiate offensive spread system.

College: TCU

2015 stats: 79 receptions, 1,327 yards, 14 touchdowns

Projected Draft Spot: Late 1st– 2nd Round

Height: 6’2

Weight: 202

40- Yard Dash: 4.5 seconds

Vertical: 41 inches

Bench Press (225 pounds): 14

Broad Jump: 10’11”

Will Fuller

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Fuller is known for being this year’s most dangerous deep threat receiver. Giving you an idea of his big play potential, his 40 yard dash time of 4.32 seconds is mesmerizing, surpassing most NFL prospects. Fuller made a name for himself at the collegiate level because of various clutch plays.

Fuller is known make deep ball catches, however he struggles with short route catches. He has a small frame when compared to the receivers listed above and lacks strength.

College: Notre Dame

2015 stats: 62 receptions, 1,258 yards,14 touchdowns

Projected Draft Spot: Late 1st– 2nd Round

Height: 6’0

Weight: 186

40- yard dash: 4.32 seconds

Vertical: 33 ½ inches

Bench Press(225 pounds): 10 reps

Broad Jump: 10’6”

 

Time will tell who exactly the best wide receiver in the 2016 NFL Draft will be. I strongly believe Josh Doctson will be the better pro out of all the prospects. Round 1 starts April 28 at 7pm CT on ESPN.