Five Things That Must Go Right for the Texans To Be Successful in 2014:
1. Ryan Fitzpatrick plays well.
He averaged 24 touchdown passes per year his last three seasons in Buffalo. With the firepower he's working with here, there's no reason he shouldn't be able to do at least that. The key is, obviously, being very healthy in the touchdown to interception ratio.
2. Arian Foster Puts Up a Monster Year.
Last I checked, he's still one of the very best in this league. And he'll have to be productive as a pass catcher in addition to his ground duties. Remember 2011 when he had two 78 yard touchdown receptions? We need some of that. For #1 on this list to happen, an occasional check down to Arian Foster can be a big help.
3. Two Pass Rushers Need Double Digit Sacks
I don't have to tell you who the first one is. And either Whitney Mercilus or Jadeveon Clowney has to emerge as a reliable threat. It's certainly possible that an ensemble effort gets the job done. But you get the feeling that a stud performance from at least one OLB is needed to spark turnovers and stop drives. We still don't know what it will all look like up front but it will be fun to watch Romeo Crennel experiment with his new chess pieces.
4. At least Two Rookies Not Named Clowney Need Big Seasons
Take your pick. Is it Fiedorowicz blossoming at Tight End? Does Louis Nix III shine at nose (this is almost a requirement)? Does Jay Prosch pancake people? A lot of talented young people are going to make this roster and they must perform in short order for the Texans to get the kind of bounce back season they're seeking.
5. Special Special Teams
We've seen it here before. A poor kicking performance can ruin a season. Lack of production in the return game or kick coverage can be a huge hindrance. Bob Ligashesky's bunch has to step up big for the Texans to surprise the pundits.