HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – The Texans have gone from pre-season Super Bowl favorite to lottery team after losing their 10th consecutive loss, this time to the New England Patriots. The final score was 34-31.
Regardless, the Texans must press forward in preparation for a date with the Jaguars in Jacksonville who beat them 13-6 in Reliant Stadium on November 24th. One can see by the score of these two games that the Texans have been very close. In fact, they’ve lost by 7 or less in the last six games. Speaks volumes of where this team is mentally. The will to win is there. But the confidence to finish has been non-existent for 10 games.
But, the “big-picture” question comes down to whether or not winning these last 5 games help their cause? Coaches and players won’t broach the subject because it implies that the team is looking to the future – more specifically, the upcoming draft. So, will the Texans “tank the season” in hopes of positioning themselves for a top 3 pick, or do they play their best football with a sense of pride to avoid the label as the “worst team in pro football”.
The Texans do have talent which is why they were projected to vie for the Super Bowl. They won’t necessarily need to start from scratch. But, there are holes to fill. General Manager, Rick Smith, who stands a good chance to be retained, will have a huge responsibility in correctly evaluating the current talent and deciding who fits and who doesn’t. Obviously, draft position will be determined by how the Texans finish compared with the rest of the league.
Right now, the Texans are the absolute worst team in the NFL at 2-10. Three-win teams include Washington, Atlanta, Jacksonville, and Minnesota. If the Texans finish with the fewest wins, the chance of a top three pick, if not the top pick, is highly likely.
ABSOLUTE POSITION OF NEED
Let’s play General Manager of the Texans for the sake of argument and pretend we have the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Does it take much thought on what position to draft? It depends on the needs of the team. Most teams in the NFL want to win within a three year period. But, how do they get there?
It’s been established that several holes need to be filled due to injuries and contract situations. The offensive line needs help, more specifically, the right side. But, left guard Wade Smith is an unrestricted free agent after this season. So, that has to be addressed.
The Texans need to secure a good dependable backup running back. Ben Tate will be an unrestricted free agent looking for security. A four-year contract sure sounds nice but will he get that offer from the Texans! Defensive end Antonio Smith is 32 years old and an unrestricted free agent.
Wide receiver Andre Johnson is under contract until 2017. Tight End Garrett Graham is also an unrestricted free agent. These are just some of the player issues to address.
The big question is who will throw to those pass catchers next season besides Case Keenum. It’s reasonable to believe this will be addressed in the draft. But, should the Texans take a quarterback with an early pick or trade down for additional picks to fill the gaps.
Meanwhile, the Texans will need to decide how to finish the season since there are still a few games yet to play.