Skip to main content
Houston Texans

Going deeper, C.J. Stroud improvement, the run game | Fans Wanna Know

Fans Wanna Know 328

Got a question about the Texans?
Life in general?
Drew Dougherty's your guy.
He's been with the Texans since 2009 and is chock full of meaningful, as well as generally useless, information. Fire away by clicking

I-Min Michael Mau: Dear Drew, What do you think we need to do to get past the divisional round of the playoffs?
DD: Thanks for the question. It's been awhile since we've heard from you. Hope all is well. 

To advance further, the Texans need a few more game-changers, and they need the game-changers they currently have, to improve. 

On both fronts, I think Houston is on the way to making that happen. As far as adding more game-changers, it looks like bringing defensive linemen like Danielle Hunter and Denico Autry, as well as linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair and running back Joe Mixon is a healthy start. I don't think Executive Vice President/General Manager Nick Caserio is done in free agency, and we'll see what moves he makes during the NFL Draft in a month. 

As far as the current game-changers getting better, how can't we be excited about the future? Quarterback C.J. Stroud was transcendent as a rookie. Add in another year to marinate in Offensive Coordinator Bobby Slowik's system with the likes of--among others--receivers Nico Collins and Tank Dell, along with tight end Dalton Schultz, and the offensive should continue to put up fireworks. 

Defensively, we're only at the beginning with guys like defensive end Will Anderson, Jr., cornerback Derek Stingley, Jr., linebacker Christian Harris and safety Jalen Pitre. 

It's a talented young core, and if they keep getting better in tandem with the new additions holding up their respective end of the bargain...look out.

Leo Lozano, Jr.: Hey Drew, how do you think the Texans will line up our defense with the additions of Autry and Mario Edwards, Jr.? Will we see Anderson still moving around or will he become just a left or right-side rusher?
DD: Hey Leo, I don't get the sense that any of those guys will anchor down in one exclusive spot. That's not to say you'll see them flip-flopping all over the place, constantly, but I think their skillsets give the Texans a lot of flexibility.

Caserio and Head Coach DeMeco Ryans have both raved about what Hunter and Autry can do, and Autry in particular has excelled both at end and tackle on the defensive front. 

I believe you'll see some mixing and matching up front defensively.

Jason Gerringer: What would qualify as a successful season running the ball? Is Joe Mixon going to be better? Sorry I know it's 2 questions...
DD: All good, Jason. Last year the Texans averaged just 3.7 yards per carry. Only three teams--the Jaguars, Saints and Buccaneers were worse. The middle point in that category was 4.1 yards a pop.

Houston hasn't averaged more than 4 yards per carry since the 2020 campaign. 

Ryans and company want to bolster the run for sure, so getting over the 4-yard mark. Mixon can certainly be better in this offense. He averaged an even 4 yards per rush last season in Cincinnati, and ran for nine scores. But he also caught 52 passes for 376 yards and three touchdowns. The Texans are hoping he'll make that same type of impact here.

Trey Llanes: Dear Drew, How much do you think C.J. Stroud will improve?
DD: It's a question that sparks so much wonder and excitement, the more you think about it. I don't have a hard data answer for you, but I believe you'll like it.

When I think back to my first job out of college, I marvel at what an idiot I was. Trey, I don't know you, and I doubt you're an idiot, but how did you do in your first job? You probably had to learn some things, you likely messed up a time or two, and then you settled in and started rocking and rolling. 

I know it's an apples-to-kiwis comparison, but Stroud was a runaway success in his first job out of college. The idea that he was able to throw 23 touchdowns and get picked off just five times, while also leading the NFL in passing yards per game, is mind-boggling. 

I think he'll be a lot better this year, and even better in the subsequent years as he continues to absorb more knowledge about the game.

Kaysen Thompson: Dear Drew, How are you such a big dawg?
DD: Oh, I wouldn't say I'm THAT big, Dawg. I try to eat fairly well, I try to walk 10,000 steps per day, and I swim laps in the mornings as often as possible. I also sprinkle in throwing buckets of baseballs to my sons and the baseball team I coach, about four times per week.

Samuel Pickett: Dear Drew, Will the Texas draft a young running back?
DD: I could see it happening, though I don't think they'd use either of the second-rounders they currently have. There are several attractive options at running back, and it wouldn't stun me if the Texans went that route later on in the Draft.

Amanda Landin: Dear Drew, When do tickets go on sale for Texans at Cowboys?
DD: The regular season schedule still hasn't been announced. It will likely come out in the next month or so. I'd click this Dallas Cowboys link for more information.

Related Content