In 2011, the Houston Texans won their first divisional title, and beat the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card round, giving the franchise its first postseason win.
This season Houston is favored to make another run at a division title. This article looks at two players who could ultimately improve Houston’s chances of winning, and the one player that could hinder the team’s success.
QB Matt Schaub
Now before you start leaving angry comments about me listing Matt Schaub as the most overrated player for the Houston Texans, let me explain my position.
Yes, Schaub led Houston to a 7-3 record last year - however, injury prevented Schaub from finishing the season and making him miss serving in the playoffs. Yes, the team made the playoffs and won a playoff game but it was accomplished with the running game and a rookie quarterback.
This is not the first time that Schaub has dealt with injury, as he has missed 16 regular season games in his time with the Texans, with the team winning almost as many as they lost with a 9-7 without Schaub.
When Schaub was on the field his work has not been overly impressive as he has a .500 record, (32-32). Additionally, in his time with Houston he has thrown 52 interceptions, chucking 15 in 2009. Yes Schaub did also throw for the most yards in the league in 2009, but a player can throw for however many yards, but that does not matter if your team does not make the playoffs.
In fact in 2011, league-leading passer Drew Brees failed to advance his team past the NFC Divisional round, in 2010 Phillip Rivers led the league in passing yet the Chargers missed the playoffs, and in 2008 Brees led the league in passing with the Saints missing the playoffs. No one cares about what you do during the regular season if you miss the postseason.
Maybe Schaub and the Houston Texans will win a second AFC South title and some more playoff games, but if it happens Schaub will need to stay healthy, win games, and throw fewer interceptions.
RB Ben Tate
I do not know that Ben Tate is necessarily underrated, but he is definitely a young player who is going to continue to do great things for the Houston Texans.
After being selected in the second round of the 2010 Draft, Tate missed the 2010 season due to a broken ankle. However, Tate came back with a outstanding season in 2011. Although he served as the backup to Arian Foster for a majority of the season, Tate still managed 942 rushing yards, a 5.4 yards per carry average and four touchdowns. Additionally, Tate also gained 93 yards receiving.
Tate adds talent and depth for the Houston Texans and their overall offense.
OLB Connor Barwin
Whenever one talks about the Houston Texans' defense the discussion usually starts with Brian Cushing - however, Houston’s defense has other great talent, including Connor Barwin.
Barwin’s rookie season was in 2009, and he put up decent numbers with 18 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, a fumble recovery, and four passes defended. Although Barwin missed the entire 2010 season due to injury, he exploded back onto the scene in 2011.
In 2011, Barwin accumulated 47 total tackles, a forced fumble, seven passes defended and 11.5 sacks. Barwin’s best 2011 game came in November against the Jacksonville Jaguars, recording a career-best 10 tackles, and set a franchise record with four sacks in a single game.
Barwin is going to be an essential part of a 2012 Houston team, looking to win their second straight division title.