After losing 14 straight, the Texans will rely heavily upon their 11 Draft selections to help improve the roster and record in 2014. The team retained tight end Garrett Graham, and added quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, nose tackle Jerrell Powe and safety Kendrick Lewis in free agency.
But how might the Texans get better internally?
How much better will the team be with the return of Pro Bowl running back Arian Foster, who was done for 2013 by early November?
What about the health of linebacker Brian Cushing, who suffered a knee injury at Kansas City in Week
And what of the four rookie draft picks from 2013 who wound up on injured reserve? Surely one or more from the group of offensive linemen David Quessenberry and Brennan Williams, linebacker Trevardo Williams and wide receiver Alan Bonner, will be able to contribute meaningfully in 2014.
Head coach Bill O'Brien was asked Tuesday morning at the NFL Annual Meetings about that quartet, and he singled out Quessenberry's skillset as an example of what he, offensive line coach Paul Dunn and the rest of the Texans' coaches are hoping to learn about in the next three months.
"A guy like Quessenberry, our staff doesn't know too much about him," O'Brien said. "Paul Dunn does, because Paul studied him when he was coming out when Paul was in Atlanta. That's a good example of a guy that we're really looking forward to working with in minicamp because we hear a lot of good things about him."
This coaching staff will run a different offense and defense than Gary Kubiak and company, so naturally, players will be called upon to learn new things and perform "some of the things" O'Brien's staff is asking.
"It's a position of unknown, when you have guys that you really haven't been able to really study," O'Brien said. "There are preseason games and college tape, but until you see him doing your things, you don't really know. So we're looking forward to working with those guys."
With new coaching and a new system, it will be interesting to see which current Texans--if any, how many, how few--wind up improving and contributing.