HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – Over the next week, SportsRadio 610’s Paul Gallant will compare and contrast the 2014 Texans with 2013 NFL teams.
The Worst Case Scenario
2013 Cleveland Browns: 4-12, 4th AFC North
You saw my best case scenario for the ’14 Texans with the ’13 New York Jets. The most realistic possibility with the ’13 Buffalo Bills. And a bit of a stretch with the ’13 Minnesota Vikings. So how about the worst possibility? Enter the ’13 Cleveland Browns:
Keep in mind, A LOT of things would have to go wrong for the Texans to go through a season like Cleveland did last year. But, the Browns did enter this past season sharing many traits with that Cleveland team.
First Year Regime
Remember old Rob Chudzinski? That poor fellah. Old Bobby got blown out after just a season. In a harsh, brutal, and imperfect world, Bill O’Brien could struggle. So much so that Bob McNair decides to pull the emergency rip cord and blow out O’Brien after just a year. Unlikely, especially given McNair’s track record of leniency with prior coaches. But if B.O.B. loses seven straight to end the season like Chudzinski, who knows.
Whoops, That Was A Mistake
Remember when the Browns started the season with Brandon Weeden as their starting quarterback? HA! Cleveland’s QB situation was brutal going into the season. But injuries to Weeden, Brian Hoyer saw reps at quarterback split between three guys. No matter how deep a team is at that positional group, it’s close to impossible for a team to adapt to three different signal callers. A couple of Texans injuries could see a similar situation unfold, with Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum, AND Tom Savage all taking snaps. No way that would end well.
Running Game Run Aground
The Browns realized that Trent Richardson wasn’t worth it after just two games. They signed Willis McGahee as a quick fix, but he was no where near the effective back he’d been in Denver the season prior (731 yards, 4.4 yards a carry) before a season ending knee injury. McGahee averaged a career low 2.7 yards per carry the rest of the season. And despite ridiculous production from receiver Josh Gordon and tight end Jordan Cameron, no other Cleveland running back could get going.
Arian Foster is five years younger than McGahee. But he is coming off of a season ending back injury. If he struggles to get back to form behind this offensive line, it’s certainly possible to see Alfred Blue and Andre Brown having similar problems.
Underwhelming On The Edges
The Browns had high hopes for their pass rush after signing free agent Paul Kruger to a big deal and taking Barkevious Mingo sixth overall in the draft. But they didn’t get the production they were looking for in year one (9.5 combined sacks). On paper and film Clowney is a better prospect than Mingo. But the Texans are still waiting to see glimpses of first round talent from Whitney Mercilus. If Clowney is slow taking up to the NFL game and Mercilus shows no signs of development, their pass rush could be much like it was last season: stagnant.
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