Pressing Concerns for Houston Texans in 2013

By Cooper Welch
Arian Foster
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Texans begin their regular season on Monday, September 9 against the San Diego Chargers, and there are already growing concerns before the season has even begun.

The Texans have one of the hardest schedules in the NFL this season, facing extremely tough opponents from the NFC West.

The Seattle Seahawks should once again be in the top 5 defenses in the league, the San Francisco 49ers will probably be one of the best overall teams in the NFL, the St. Louis Rams are playing for a new stadium or a move to Los Angeles, and the Arizona Cardinals have Bruce Arians, Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald.

The Texans also travel to the Baltimore Ravens (reigning Super Bowl champs) this season, and host the New England Patriots (who always give them trouble) and the Denver Broncos  (Peyton Manning).

It’s been almost a continuous question this preseason as to whether or not Matt Schaub is the quarterback to lead the Texans to the Super Bowl. He’s had over 4,000 passing yards three of the past four seasons, and his career completion percentage is a rather impressive 64.3 percent.

But Schaub also has very frustrating stretches of football, including when he threw just one touchdown pass during the last four weeks of the 2012 regular season. He doesn’t get sacked much or throw many interceptions, but he also doesn’t risk much, choosing to throw the ball away nine out of 10 times than trying to force something. If the Texans are to win the Super Bowl this year, Schaub will have to take bigger risks on the field.

Health has been such a frustrating issue for the Texans the past two seasons that many times I’ve wondered if the entire Texans team has the “Madden Curse“. In 2011 the Texans lost Schaub in what looked like could be his greatest statistical year, and last season it seemed like there was a different linebacker injured every Sunday.

Hopefully the Texans have already worked through the injury bug this year, as prominent names such as Arian Foster, Whitney Mercilus, Ed Reed, DeAndre Hopkins and Wade Smith all missed time in this year’s preseason. If all of these guys stay healthy, the Texans could really be a force to reckon with.

It’s slightly surprising to me that we’re about to enter Week 1 of the regular season and Gary Kubiak still hasn’t made a decision on whether T.J. Yates or Case Keenum will start.  You can read more about that battle in this article by Rant Sports writer Michael Terrill.

With the return of Brian Cushing and the addition of Ed Reed, many have wondered if the Texans’ defense will be improved from last year. It’s hard to say at this point, but two things are for certain. 1) J.J. Watt can’t do too much better than he did last year, and 2) it’s hard not to improve on allowing 29 touchdown passes in 2012.

We’ll see how good the Texans look in their season opener in San Diego on ESPN’s Monday Night Football, but many of these questions still won’t be answered until much later in the season.

Cooper Welch is a Houston Texans writer for Follow him on Twitter @cooperwelch1991, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also listen to his Locker Room podcast on iTunes.

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