Houston Texans Facing Critical Offseason Headlined by Big Questions at QB

Tyler Duma@@TylerDuma_BRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2016

Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Jaye Howard (96) sackes Houston Texans quarterback Brian Hoyer (7) during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

The Houston Texans have the makings of a talented football team.

On defense, we all know what they're capable of. Between J.J. Watt, their solid secondary and improved play from Jadaveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilous, it's no wonder Houston ranked in the top-10 in total defense and scoring defense during the 2015 regular season.

On offense, the team has a true superstar in wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, and guys like Jaelen Strong and Alfred Blue are solid complementary pieces to accompany the return of a potentially healthy Arian Foster.

The issue with this squad has been, and, unless they do some serious work this offseason, will continue to be their quarterback situation.

Brian Hoyer can not, and will not get the job done as a starting QB on a competitive team. Perhaps at no point in his NFL career has this been more apparent than in the team's 30-0 blowout loss to the Kansas City Chiefs earlier today.

In said game, Hoyer was incapable of putting together anything that resembled competent quarterbacking, and converted on just 15-34 pass attempts for a paltry 136 yards.

In addition to the underwhelming yardage totals, the seventh-year signal caller threw four, yes four, interceptions and even chipped in two fumbles just to really drive home that final nail in the Texans' season.

Hoyer was bad, like, historically bad.

He single-handedly doomed Houston on Saturday, logging all six of the team's turnovers, and prohibiting the team's biggest offensive weapon, Hopkins, from flashing his tremendous skill set.

The offense, in spite of Hoyer, performed reasonably well. Hopkins somehow reeled in six catches for 69 yards, while Blue piled up 99 yards on 17 carries against a defense that allowed the eighth-fewest rushing yards per-game during the regular season.

It wasn't just the postseason where the former Michigan State Spartan's play was less-than-desirable, and he graded out as the 21st best QB in the NFL this year, per Pro Football Focus.

Brian Hoyer can't be the Texans' starting quarterback next year if they hope to take the next step forward.
Brian Hoyer can't be the Texans' starting quarterback next year if they hope to take the next step forward.Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press/Associated Press

To take the next step forward, and avoid another embarrassing loss like this in next year's postseason, the Texans front office needs to take a long, hard look at their quarterback situation this offseason.

The most obvious place to look for a Hoyer replacement is in the upcoming NFL Draft.

When analyzing his most recent big board and mock draft, you'll find that our resident NFL Draft expert Matt Miller has North Dakota State's Carson Wentz is likely to be the best quarterback available when the Texans come around to pick for the first time.

Drafting late in the first round doesn't necessarily help their prospects of finding a franchise quarterback, but if they're patient, they could find a solid final product with Wentz.

Miller lists Wentz as the biggest sleeper in this year's quarterback class, and it's fair to see why. Wentz possesses a huge, 6'6", 235-pound frame and amassed 4918 yards on 376-583 passing over his four-year-career, and chipped in 44 touchdowns to just 12 interceptions, per SI.com.

Wentz is quick in his reads, delivers the ball with accuracy to all parts of the field, and is a surprisingly good athlete given his size. 

The Bismarck, ND native was the leader of a Bison team that, just earlier today, logged their fifth-straight FCS National Championship, and is the type of talent that would go a long way toward solidifying this Texans offense.

If for no other reason than his ties to head coach Bill O'Brien, Penn State University's Christian Hackenberg will also receive some looks from Houston this offseason. He could be another option for a team like Houston who is looking to develop a franchise QB.

If Wentz or Hackenberg are off the board or the Texans don't like their draft spot for a quarterback—they could use some help along the offensive line as well—then the team could turn to the free-agent market where names like Brock Osweiler, Kirk Cousins, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Sam Bradford will all be present for at least some period of time.

Fitzpatrick is unlikely given the fact that he was already in Houston and didn't work out, as is Cousins since the Redskins are likely to back up the Brinks truck and drop boat-loads of money at his doorstep this offseason to keep him in D.C.

Osweiler and Bradford, however, could both be worth a gamble for the Texans. The former presents the better long-term option, but would prove much more costly than Bradford, who could come at a much more reasonable price than the 25-year-old Osweiler.

Truth be told, Houston may need to bring in a stop-gap QB to bridge the gap between drafting Wentz, or any other QB, and actually starting him in an NFL game, but at this point, anything's better than another year of Brian Hoyer, right?


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