Houston Texans looking for young leaders to emerge

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Houston Texans quarterback Davis Mills throws a pass against the New England Patriots during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

By Patrick Storm

With the 2022 season quickly approaching, the Houston Texans have completely flipped their roster from what it was just two seasons ago with Deshaun Watson leading the team at quarterback and J.J. Watt on the defense.

Houston now has Davis Mills as their top quarterback and a first round draft pick in Derek Stingley as the biggest name on their defense.

A dramatic roster change that still has many wondering, “Is Davis Mills the answer at QB for the Texans?”

Many will argue that he’s just a stop-gap until something better comes along, or that Mills will never live up to be an elite QB and the Texans will be drafting a QB in 2023 where they hold two first round selections. While all very possible situations, it seems though the Texans made a concerted effort to surround Mills with talent that was either missing or severely underwhelming in his first season as the Texans’ QB.

Houston needed to bolster their interior offensive line to help improve the run game, which should help take pressure off Mills when it comes to dropping back in the pocket.

Defense’s had zero respect for the Texans’ anemic run game last season which tallied only 1.422 yards on the ground lead by Rex Burkhead with 427 yards followed by Mark Ingram with 294, who was traded in Week 8. The Texans added Kenyon Green out of Texas A&M in the first round and signed veteran guard A.J. Cann who had spent his seven seasons in Jacksonville.

By adding two guards and reshaping the running back room with the addition of Marlon Mack and Dameon Pierce, the Texans clearly hope to alleviate some of the pressure Davis dealt with last season when he was pressured on 20.9% of his drop backs according to Pro-football-reference.com.


By allowing the run game to establish, which Tim Kelly absolutely wanted to do no matter what, this should allow defenses to stop pressuring and give Mills more time to read his progressions and find an open receiver or maybe pick up a few yards on the ground himself which he showed he was capable of on a few occasions, one of which sent Watt to injured reserve for several weeks with a shoulder injury.

Now Mills didn’t exactly set the league on fire with his play, but he did show some promise and was able to dial up 2,600-plus yards in only 11 games last season. If Mills is able to replicate and improve on this, the Texans would not need to draft a QB or look to free agency for one. Mills is going to line up with veteran wide receiver Brandin Cooks as his WR1 again this year, and also have a new weapon in John Metchie, a WR out of Alabama, who Cody Johnson did a great breakdown on Twitter .

A decent WR room for a young quarterback to have at his disposal, speed, athleticism and good route running will only benefit Mills down the stretch. How can we forget having Pep Hamilton in his ear calling the plays, and coaching the young QB up, Pep has a knack for getting the best out of young QB’s, and Texans fans should certainly hope this is the case again with Mills?

This season has this sort of “make or break” feel to it, and it’s wild to think so much of this hinges on the success of Mills at QB, or the Texans could be facing a major issue come next off-season.