Sports Minute: Texans look to contend for title with new-look offense
HOUSTON TEXANS (11-7)
CAMP SITE: Houston
LAST YEAR: Won AFC South for second straight year and fourth time in five seasons behind strong play of quarterback Deshaun Watson. Beat Bills in wild-card round with big comeback before squandering 24-0 lead in 51-31 loss to Kansas City in divisional round.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: RB David Johnson, WRs Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb, SSs Eric Murray and Jaylen Watkins, OTs Roderick Johnson and Brent Qvale, LB Tyrell Adams, DT Ross Blacklock, DE Jonathan Greenard.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: WR DeAndre Hopkins, RBs Carlos Hyde and Lamar Miller, CB Johnathan Joseph, NT D.J. Reader.
PANDEMIC CHALLENGES: Texans must navigate getting players back to camp and keeping them safe in city that has emerged as hotspot for coronavirus. Hospitals are feeling strain as city sees thousands of new cases each week despite residents being urged to stay home except for essential tasks.
CAMP NEEDS: WR Will Fuller needs to show he’s healthy and ready to finally play full season after being limited by years of injuries. He becomes team’s No. 1 receiver with Hopkins in Arizona. Watson must integrate Johnson into offense and adjust to new-look of unit without Hopkins. New defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver must work with new players in secondary to improve pass defense that was among worst in NFL last season.
EXPECTATIONS: Coach Bill O’Brien knows that simply getting to playoffs or winning first-round game is not enough for this franchise anymore and is focused on taking next step. It will be tall task without Hopkins, who has carried offense for years, but Texans could still be dangerous team behind Watson and with defense featuring J.J. Watt.
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