Houston Texans Open Season with High Expectations
By Emin Avakian
Ever since recording the franchise’s first winning campaign in 2009, the Houston Texans have been met with high expectations going into the subsequent season openers.
And while two consecutive victories in the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs as the third seed is seen as acceptable for many teams in the league, head coach Gary Kubiak and company will need to advance further if the aforementioned expectations are to be met with results.
The ‘Super Bowl or Bust’ mentality is justified, as the 12-4 squad from last season brings back its viable coaching staff and its star players: pro-bowl starting quarterback Matt Schaub will be taking the snaps with all-pro Arian Foster handling a majority of the carries and keeping opposing defense’s honest. Foster is coming off a stellar season, scoring 17 total touchdowns and accumulating 1,424 yards on the ground.
Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels are sure to be Schaub’s favorite targets.
Behind Johnson however, the Texans will trot out relatively inexperienced receivers with Keshawn Martin, DeVier Posey, and rookie Lestar Jean accounting for five years and 22 combined receptions in the professional ranks.
This week’s news of left guard Wade Smith undergoing an arthroscopic knee scope surely doesn’t help matters either.
On the other side of the ball, reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt leads the Texans defense. Brooks Reed, Brian Cushing, Johnathan Joseph and newly acquisition Ed Reed complement the solid 11-man unit.
On special teams, one player that will not be mentioned often but will prove instrumental in the team’s success is punter Shane Lechler, whom the Texans signed after the veteran was released by the Oakland Raiders.
Houston will play six playoff teams from last season, including division foe Indianapolis, twice. As is proven year after year, it is pointless to project wins and losses, but two games apiece versus the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans and a home game against Oakland should prove to benefit the Texans.
Despite their unproven receivers, injuries to key players, and high expectations, the Texans will take advantage of their schedule and win the division on their way to clinching another postseason berth. The question is: will they get past the Divisional Round for the first time in franchise history? The road to Dallas begins September 9, as the Texans travel to San Diego to take on the Chargers.