Which Houston Texan is the most instrumental to the team reaching its goals?
That’s an interesting question. The Texans have several talented players on both sides of the ball, thus the lofty Super Bowl expectations.
The fans are talking Super Bowl. The players are talking Super Bowl. So the media is talking Super Bowl.
Houston Texans and Super Bowl in the same sentence is very new feeling. Fans hope the feeling will become familiar.
Heavy expectations weigh heavily on the shoulders of mortals but such is life for those who have the ability to get it done in the NFL.
So who has the most weight on their sculpted shoulders?
Is it Brian Cushing?
You can make that argument. With Mario Williams in Buffalo and DeMeco Ryans now in Philadelphia, it’s his defense now. He is the veteran. The fourth year linebacker will be the new leader on defense.
The talent around Cushing is young. Brooks Reed and Connor Barwin are still growing in their careers. Whitney Mercilus is obviously a rookie.
Without Cushing, the defense will not be a championship defense. Houston would still be a playoff team though.
Is it Arian Foster?
Foster is certainly Houston’s best player, in my opinion. He is the best running back in the NFL. He is the perfect runner for the one-cut, zone blocking scheme. Foster led the league in rushing two years ago and perhaps would have again this past season had he not missed the first three games inhibited by a hamstring injury.
However, if if was a fifth then we would all be drunk.
He was paid like a top back this off-season because he deserved a pay day.
But he has a competent backup behind him. Ben Tate could run for 1000 yards if given the opportunity. There are reports that the Cleveland Browns offered the Texans a first round draft pick for Tate.
If Foster were hurt or gone, Tate cold carry the full load. He is not the Texan’s most valuable player.
QB vs Receiver
The argument for Andre Johnson is valid. There is limited talent around him at the receiver position. If Johnson is hurt, the position looks very below average. They would be one of the worst in the league in fact.
The front office is abiding by the “hope” creed in terms of pass catchers. Rick Smith “hopes” Lestar Jean is a good player. It’s a good possibility given the team’s evaluation acumen but not something to bet on. Kevin Walter has regressed for the past two seasons. Beyond that, everyone else at the position is a rookie.
Without Johnson, the Houston offense is not dynamic though the same could be said for Matt Schaub. The Texans scored fewer points per game with Schaub out.
There is no hope with Schaub out though.
With TJ Yates at the helm, we knew the endgame. This team was too good defensively and in the running game not to compete on a high level but everyone knew the Texans weren’t title contenders once Schaub went out. Yates locked onto his number 1 receivers. He was not particularly accurate. He just was not what a team close to a title needed.
Without Johnson, the Texans aren’t explosive. Schaub would need to utilize their tight ends over the middle of the field.
But without Schaub, the Texans are an average team. Not because he is their best player, because he is their most important player.