The Houston Texans have been also-rans in the AFC South since 2020. Aside from individual accomplishments in 2020, there has been very little to cheer.
The Texans have a wave of excitement they can ride throughout the spring thanks to hiring coach DeMeco Ryans, a former two-time Pro Bowl linebacker with the franchise from 2006-11. The enthusiasm could turn to dejection if the Texans aren’t able to get out of their funk that has limited them to a four-win ceiling the past three seasons.
According to Dalton Wasserman from Pro Football Focus, among incoming coaches in 2023, Ryans ranks No. 4 in his prospects to turn around his team.
Ryans will pride himself on improving this defense, which carried a league-worst 34.1 run-defense grade last season. The first part of winning games is staying in them. And too often in 2022, the Texans’ front seven did not allow the team to do so.
The relationship between Stroud and first-year play caller Bobby Slowik will be interesting to watch. The entire team, though, will be built in Ryans’ blue-collar image. Without a true WR1 on their roster, the Texans’ goal will be to improve the defense and run the ball well.
It’s a developmental year for everyone involved, but the direction of the team is very clear. It will take time, especially in a loaded AFC. Ryans has the requisite time and a good core of talent to work with. The Texans could win a couple more games than expected if things break right.
The Texans will have their travails throughout the 17-game season. Nevertheless if Ryans is able to end the season on a high note in January, regardless of playoff qualification, Clutch City sports fans will have to believe better days have returned.