The Houston Texans are currently featured on HBO’s “Hard Knocks”, so a lot of eyes are watching them this preseason. The show usually brings a ton of undeserving expectations to whichever team appears on the program. Actually, very few teams that have been on the show went on to make the playoffs that season. It still doesn’t stop people from expecting big things.
Texans coach Bill O’Brien has a big decision to make this preseason. He has to choose who will become the team’s starting quarterback. Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett both have their positives, but no one is the clear pick to lead the team. The race should be close throughout camp.
Which man will win the starting quarterback job?
Here is the 2015 NFL team preview for the Houston Texans.
2014 Win/Loss Record: 9-7
Key Additions: QB Brian Hoyer, WR Cecil Shorts, WR Nate Washington, DT Vince Wilfork, S Rahim Moore, S Stevie Brown, WR Chris Polk & DE Fili Moala
Key Losses: WR Andre Johnson, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB Case Keenum, OLB Brooks Reed, S D.J. Swearinger, S Kendrick Lewis, OG Cody White, C Chris Myers, DT Tim Jamison, RB Ben Malena, DT Jerrell Powe, S Danieal Manning, RT Tyson Clabo & DT Ryan Pickett
2015 Draft Picks: CB Kevin Johnson, ILB Benardrick McKinney, WR Jaelen Strong, WR Keith Mumphery, OLB Reshard Cliett, DT Christian Covington & RB Kenny Hilliard
Non-Division Schedule: AFC East, NFC South & (Cincinnati/Kansas City)
Fantasy Sleeper: QB Ryan Mallett – First, I do believe Brian Hoyer will win the starting job in training camp…but Mallett’s elite arm strength is hard to ignore. Remember, Jeff George kept getting job after job in the NFL just because he could throw the ball 60 yards if needed. I’m not saying Mallett is Jeff George, but if given the opportunity, he will put up better fantasy numbers than Brian Hoyer.
Offense – QB Brian Hoyer, RB Arian Foster, WR DeAndre Hopkins, WR Cecil Shorts, WR Nate Washington, TE Garrett Graham, LT Duane Brown, LG Xavier Su’a-Filo, C Ben Jones, RG Brandon Brooks & RT Derek Newton
Defense – DE J.J. Watt, DT Vince Wilfork, DE Jared Crick, LOLB Whitney Mercilus, ILB Benardrick McKinney, ILB Brian Cushing, ROLB Jadeveon Clowney, CB Johnathan Joseph, CB Kareem Jackson, SS Eddie Pleasant & FS Rahim Moore
Team Analysis: The Houston Texans are stuck playing the AFC South, a division won by the Indianapolis Colts nearly ever season since its creation. Houston’s defense could end up being the best in the NFL, but their offense has a lot of question marks. The biggest question that needs answered is at quarterback. Hoyer is the favorite to win the job, but Mallett brings a lot to the table as well. I do believe Mallett will get some time on the field this season. The running back position is also up in the air. Arian Foster suffered a nasty groin injury that needed surgery. He may only end up missing three or four regular season games, but a groin issue can linger for months. Foster got to the dreaded 350-carry mark in 2012 and has missed a total of 11 games the last two seasons. Alfred Blue could see a lot carries even when Foster returns. The defense will win some games for Houston this season, but they are a few pieces away on offense to get to the playoffs this season.
2015 Wins Over/Under Line: 8.5 (Prediction: UNDER)
2015 Projected Win/Loss Record: 7-9 (2nd in AFC South)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.