As NFL teams contemplate potential changes in coaching and quarterback positions for the upcoming offseason, the Houston Texans offer a cautionary tale worth considering. Despite a dismal 7-26-1 record in the 2021-22 season and a roster largely dismissed by pundits, the Texans have emerged as one of the hottest teams in the league, boasting a 5-4 record after a thrilling 30-27 victory over the Bengals on Sunday.
Key to the Texans’ resurgence was making strategic choices during the offseason. Hiring head coach DeMeco Ryans, appointing offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik, and drafting quarterback C.J. Stroud at No. 2 overall in April have collectively sparked an instant and dramatic turnaround. Stroud, in particular, has proven to be a special talent, elevating the performance of his teammates and contributing significantly to the team’s success.
In the Week 10 review, it’s evident that the Texans’ decision to draft Stroud was a masterstroke. The quarterback’s dynamic play has revitalized the team, with discarded players like Noah Brown and Dalton Schultz delivering impressive performances. The Texans’ receiving corps, featuring players like Nico Collins and Tank Dell, has flourished under Stroud’s leadership.
Stroud’s electric performance, coupled with the coaching expertise of Bobby Slowik, has been a game-changer for the Texans. Notably, Stroud’s resilience was on full display in the recent win against the Bengals, where he overcame a fourth-quarter interception to lead the team to a last-second, game-winning field goal. This victory also marked a milestone for the Texans, becoming the first team since the 1998 Colts to have a 350-yard passer, 150-yard rusher (Devin Singletary), and 150-yard receiver (Noah Brown) in a single game.
While the Texans’ offense ranks at No. 10 in scoring (24.1 points per game), head coach DeMeco Ryans has also crafted a surprisingly robust defense, currently standing at No. 16 in points allowed (21.3). The Texans showcased their defensive prowess by forcing two interceptions against Joe Burrow and executing an impressive red zone stand in the final minutes of the Bengals game.
In contrast to the Texans’ success, the New York Jets find themselves in a challenging situation. Despite a 4-5 record, the Jets’ offensive struggles, particularly quarterback Zach Wilson’s ineffectiveness, have hindered their performance. Wilson’s inability to score touchdowns in consecutive games has raised concerns about the team’s offensive functionality.
In other notable developments from Week 10:Josh Dobbs, the Vikings’ starting quarterback, has played a pivotal role in leading the team to two consecutive wins since his acquisition.
The 49ers delivered a statement win against the Jaguars, showcasing the impact of key players’ return on their performance.
The AFC playoff race remains highly competitive, with 10 teams within two games of each other.
As teams evaluate their future coaching and quarterback decisions, the Texans’ remarkable turnaround serves as a reminder that strategic choices during the offseason can lead to unexpected success on the field.