Houston Texans 2017 Season Recap
Some teams have bad seasons because they are either bereft of talent or due to internal strife. But there are those times that a team suffers through a brutal campaign due to being snake bit; unable to catch a break at any turn. Our next entrant fell into that final category.
2017 Record: 4-12
2016 Record: 9-7
Win Differential: -5
What Happened? The 2017 season looked to be an uphill battle from the start. The devastation of Hurricane Harvey through south Texas coming through during the run up to the NFL season would have been enough to give the Texans a pass for 2017, as a natural disaster causing destruction for one's host city would have an incalculable impact on everyone there. However, amidst this backdrop, the Texans found something they have long sought: a reliable quarterback that can become the fulcrum of the offense, then later a franchise cornerstone. DeShaun Watson was reluctantly put in by head coach Bill O'Brien out of desperation by the second game of year, only to become an immediate favorite to win Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. But as this was occurring, injuries began to stockpile, especially to Houston's best players. First, defensive tackle J.J. Watt suffered a severe leg break, ending his season. Then, LB Whitney Mercilus would be felled by a torn pectoral muscle that placed him on injured reserve. And after what can easily be called his breakout game against Seattle's Russell Wilson, Watson tore his anterior cruciate ligament in practice, ending his season on IR. After all that, the Texans were rudderless, going 1-8 to conclude the year. It was just too much for one team to take.
What To Expect: The Texans should be on the list of bounce back candidates. The returns of Watt, Mercilus, and Watson should buoy the spirits of the entire roster. While there may be some measure of concern about each man's effectiveness, especially Watt, who has lost two of his last three years to injury, there is no question that the rest of the team will be happy to see them back on the field. The Texans made a key free agent acquisition in defensive back Tyrann Mathieu from Arizona to shore up a struggling pass defense, but he brings injury baggage of his own. All eyes, undoubtedly, will be on Watson. If he is able to exhibit his skill and talent as Houston's signal caller that he showed in his relatively small sample size of 2017, then the Texans will not only make a swift turnaround, but also become a perennial contender for the AFC South championship and beyond.