Vandermeer's View: Texans offense bound to be better


When asked if the Texans defense is ahead of the offense right now, Bill O'Brien said it's about even.

"I think it's been a very competitive OTA period." He said earlier this week. "The offense has shown up and made some plays. The defense has made some plays. It's kind of 50-50 right now"

That's a good early review for an attack going up against what's likely to be one of the best defenses in the NFL. After all, they were 7th in scoring D last year, led the NFL in takeaways and should continue to prosper in year two under Romeo Crennel.

The talk around town on offense centers on the Texans quarterback competition. Having three signal callers with experience in the system is a big boost. No matter who gets the job, it's intriguing to imagine how it will affect the finished product on game day.

At 34 attempts per game, the Texans ran the ball more than any other team in the league last year. Arian Foster is one of the best in the business and actually saw a reduced number of carries over previous productive seasons with 260 (He was injured for the back half of 2013). Compare that to 351 in 2012 and 327 in 2010, when he led the NFL in rushing, and you can see that Houston made the most of its stable of backs.

There's no doubt O'Brien and George Godsey would like to improve on the collective 3.9 yard per carry number (22nd in the NFL) but it's difficult to have a robust average with so many carries.

Houston was a top five yardage team on the ground but 24th in passing yards. That's a number that's bound to improve in 2015. Yes, you must 'replace' Andre Johnson's 85 catches. But the committee of wide receivers, led by emerging star DeAndre Hopkins, should be up to the challenge.

Take a look at photos from the Houston Texans' fourth day of OTAs.

Another number that should be growing is tight end receptions. For whatever reason, the Texans tight ends were held to 32 catches in 2014. Another year in the system should add to that total.

The fact that the Texans threw 22 touchdown passes, good for fourth all time in franchise history, probably didn't cause O'Brien to open any champagne bottles. Despite having one of the NFL's better offenses for years under Gary Kubiak, the Texans have never had a 30 touchdown pass season, so the numbers are skewed. And having worked with Tom Brady, it'll take a big total in that department to impress O'Brien and Godsey.

The most important digits of all are on the scoreboard, where the Texans averaged 23.2 points per game, enough for 14th in the NFL. The defensive takeaways and scores helped the number. Certainly O'Brien wouldn't mind winning every game 7-0 but he'll no doubt be looking for the point totals to go up with increased production from a unit that has more collective experience and should be more prolific in year two of his tenure.

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