Can the Houston Texans hold off the Indianapolis Colts for AFC South supremacy?
If the question was asked last season, it would not have been taken seriously, with the Colts coming off the worst record in the NFL.
But not, with Andrew Luck firmly entrenched as the pilot of the Colts’ ship, Houston has some serious competition this season for the division title.
Does Houston, a team that can score at will at any time, have the weapons and chutzpah to reclaim the AFC South as their own and leave all other contenders in the rear view mirror?
Everything starts with Arian Foster, possibly the best runner in the AFC and second best in the league (Adrian Peterson reigns supreme). As he goes so goes this team.
Now that the Texans have completed their initial workouts, practices and OTAs, here are things we learned from the franchise heading into training camp.
* The team is thrilled about hosting the Super Bowl in 2017. The NFL awarded the franchise Super Bowl LI, which now begs the question if Houston could be playing in the league’s ultimate game in their home town. To date, no team has accomplished that.
* DeAndre Hopkins has been the talk of the offseason. It seems everything thrown to DeAndre Hopkins landed in his hands. Head coach Gary Kubiak was quoted as saying he was impressed with Hopkins and his abilities in camp.“He struggled early, which we knew he would, but I think it helps when you throw a guy in with the ones right away, because he gets coached by (Matt) Schaub.”
* There is concern at right tackle. If the Texans are going to continue to beat teams with a running attack, the right side of the line needs to be solid. The team practiced without two of its top candidates to fill the position, Derek Newton and Brennan Williams. Both are expected to be in camp on July 26.
* Tim Dobbins returned to action after missing the team’s OTAs. Dobbins, along with Ed Reed, were the only players who were not at OTAs but were in attendance for the mini camp last week. This was the first time Dobbins had not shown up for OTAs since joining the Texans.
* Ed Reed is still rehabbing his hip injury and was at the team’s three day mandatory mini camp. Reed, who was signed in the off season from Baltimore, worked in Colorado and Atlanta on getting back into playing shape.
* Another rookie who has caught the eye of Kubiak is DJ Swearinger, the team’s second round pick. While he was working with the team’s second unit on defense, the pressuring defensive back fit into the Texans’ defensive system.
* Ben Tate is in the last year of his contract with the team. He has been the lead runner in absence of Arian Foster. Could this be a big season for Tate? Could he get a new contract with the Texans or could he be starting for some other team next season?
* Could 2,000 yards be attainable? If Adrian Peterson can get 2,000 yards on a repaired knee, could Arian Foster hit the 2,000-yard mark this season? When Foster is on, there are few who could stop him. If the line is solid, I personally think the goal is possible.
* Antonio Smith wants to stay with the Texans. According to Profootballtalk.com, Smith has stated he wants to remain a Texan and the team wants him to stay. Smith is set to make $6 million in 2013 and he has a cap figure of $9.5 million.