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 HERE!
Jeff Hays: Dear Drew, What are your thoughts on Lovie Smith and his staff?
DD: I'm excited. It's been cool the last season seeing him around the building and interacting with him from time to time. His resume is incredibly impressive, so it was good having him on the staff. The big thing for him when he got here was being very clear and very decisive in making sure that the defense got more takeaways than they did in 2020. That year, they came up with just nine, which was worst in the NFL. Smith established several goals to reverse that trend, reinforced them on a regular basis and Houston came up with 25 takeaways in 2021. That was tied for 10th in the NFL and Smith still wanted more.
In talking with him this week, he was very clear about the plan he has now as head coach. He's done this now in the NFL three times and said he's learned quite a bit from his other two go-rounds. If the team is able to accomplish what he wants, the same way his defense did in 2021, great things will happen in 2022.
Bill "The Thrill" Strausbill: Dear Drew, Why didn't 'Dre didn't in the Hall of Fame?
DD: I don't think the voters saw him play enough. For the bulk of his career, the Texans played their games at noon and they were rarely in the playoffs. Andre Johnson was on the 2011 and 2012 squads that went to the postseason, but that was it. That's my only guess. Because his stats are outstanding. Three different times he was able to crack the 1,500 receiving yards mark in a season and he had a fourth season where he went over 1,400 yards. Johnson did that with a lot of different quarterbacks, too. I think if you asked anyone who played during the 2000s and the early part of the last decade, they'd say Johnson was a Hall of Famer. It'll happen. It just didn't happen this year on the first ballot and that's a big bummer, but yes: Andre Johnson belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Oscar Armendariz: Dear Drew, Is Lovie Smith going to be able to get his own coaches?
DD: Yes. He already has. Pep Hamilton is staying and was promoted to Offensive Coordinator. Smith hired Hamilton in Chicago in 2007 as the quarterbacks coach and said he tried at other points in his career to get Hamilton on his staff.
Bruce Fox: Dear Drew, Will Lovie get us a good running back?
DD: He definitely wants the Texans to get better at running the ball. I think one of the key ways that can happen is with Hamilton's offensive scheme. He's been successful in the past at getting the ground game going. I'm pretty sure you'll see a definitive uptick in rushing success as a result.
David Saenz: Dear Drew, Should the Texans use their first-round draft pick to take the best player available? Or should they trade down in exchange for multiple picks?
DD: If you listen to Caserio, the Texans are willing to move out of that third overall spot in exchange for more picks. If they stay, though, they're in position to get a high-impact player, but I would be surprised if the Texans don't move that pick. They could use all the talent upgrades as possible, and Caserio picked five guys in 2021 who all came in and made immediate impacts. If he comes close to the same rate of success this year, Houston will be in a really good position to keep making positive strides.
Pamela Kennedy: Dear Drew, Have the Texans considered having a FUN pep rally to re-engage fans?
DD: I don't think any pep rallies are coming soon, but I do think they'll mix things up when they plan the annual Draft Party with fans. There's a good chance it's in a new venue, away from NRG Stadium. Things can obviously change but stay on the lookout for that in the months to come.