If you had to sum up the Houston Texans season it would go like this:
After being the featured team on HBO’s Hard Knocks, the Houston Texans came into the 2015 season with the expectations of being a contender not only for the AFC South division crown, but for a wild card spot as well. Things hadn’t worked out 7 weeks into the season. Bill O’Brien handled the quarterback situation poorly at the beginning of the season and the weekend of the Miami Dolphins game the turmoil seemed to hit its peak. Ryan Mallett missed the team plane to Miami, the Texans were being blown out 41-0 in the first half and there were reports of turmoil between Bill O’Brien and GM Rick Smith.
But since the start of Week 8, this defense is giving up an average of 8.8 ppg and close to 251 yards per game in the weeks since against the Titans, Bengals, Jets and Saints. Opposing teams have scored just two touchdown during this time frame and it’s no surprise they are 4-0.
One of the biggest reasons behind this turn around is the personnel changes that have occurred from earlier in the season til now. Many of the younger players on the Texans such as 2015 draft pick Bernardrick McKinney, Christiam Covington, Brandon Dunn, Christian Covington, Andre Hal and Quintin Demps have replaced the veterans that previously held those positions which has given the Texans defense more speed at all 3 levels of the defense. These personnel adjustments have helped stopped so many of the big plays the defense had been previously giving up.
Romeo Crennel has done a phenomenal job with how he has used pass rushers’ JJ Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus.
Here Clowney lines up on the inside and has a one on one matchup with the guard and Watt has a match up with the tackle, so you know one of these two guys will make the play. Clowney takes the A Gap and once that opens up up it gives Watt the option for a two way go. He’s able to force the tackle wide and Watt moves back inside for the easy sack.
The defense currently ranks 6th in total yards, 3rd in passing yards and 11th in rushing yards allowed heading into their matchup with the 6-5 Buffalo Bills, a game with wildcard playoff implications. They’ll close the season out with games against the Patriots, Colts, Jaguars and Titans. The Texans can finish anywhere from 7-9 to 10-6. I do like their playoff chances.