March 19, 2018

Road Blocks for the Texans: QB Play

In this series we will look at potential road blocks for the Houston Texans heading into the 2012 season. This is part 1 of the series. 



Quarterback Play


Entering the 2012 NFL season, expectations have never been higher for the Houston Texans but caution should be used going on from here and understand that the game is played in the now and not off of last year. The reality is that the Texans are not going to have an easy road back to the AFC South crown and playoff appearance.  Compared to the 2011 season, the quarterbacks the Texans will face are a totally different group. Not only will the schedule get tougher but the quarterbacks that will be showing up on game day will be a task within itself.


2011 Quarterbacks on the Schedule


Kerry Collins, Dan Orlovsky (Indianapolis Colts)

Chad Henne (Miami Dolphins)

Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints)

Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers)

Jason Campbell (Oakland Raiders)

Joe Flacco (Baltimore Ravens)

Matt Hasselbeck, Jake Locker (Tennessee Titans)

Colt McCoy (Cleveland Browns)

Josh Freeman (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Blaine Gabbert, Luke McCown (Jacksonville Jaguars)

Andy Dalton (Cincinnati Bengals)

Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers)

Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons)


Looking at the 2011 quarterbacks that the Texans faced, the group had Drew BreesBen Roethlisberger and Cam Newton as the true top-notch quarterbacks, with Brees the cream of the crop. Brees torched the Texans’ secondary last season in the Saints regular season win, while Newton came into Reliant and showed his mobility and arm and beat the Texans.

Throw in the second tier quarterbacks of Joe Flacco, Josh Freeman, Andy Dalton and Matt Ryan, the Texans faced some above average quarterbacks in this group. Flacco, despite the criticism, made some big throws for the Ravens and beat the Texans twice in 2011. Both Freeman and Ryan had down seasons despite both putting together some good 2010 seasons and Dalton, despite being a rookie, exceeded all expectations for the Bengals.

The bottom part of the quarterback group with the likes of Gabbert, McCown, Henne, Orlovsky, Collins, Campbell, Hasselback, Locker and McCoy, it was the perfect storm for the Texans season. With a strike shorten season, many of these quarterbacks needed time to develop with their teams and it showed during the games with the Texans and played right into their hands.

The Texans took full advantage of this and put together a magical season starting with the defensive turn around the Texans had under Wade Phillips. The young crop of quarterbacks they faced showed their inexperience and with down seasons from some quarterbacks the play was below average at times, especially against the Texans.


2012 Quarterbacks on the Schedule


Matt Moore, David Garrard (Miami Dolphins)

Blaine Gabbert (Jacksonville Jaguars)

Andre Luck (Indianapolis Colts)

Matt Hasselbeck, Jake Locker (Tennessee Titans)

Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow (New York Jets)

Joe Flacco (Baltimore Ravens)

Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers)

Ryan Fitzpatrick (Buffalo Bills)

Jay Cutler (Chicago Bears)

Matthew Stafford (Detroit Lions)

Tom Brady (New England Patriots)

Christian Ponder (Minnesota Vikings)


Talk about a night and day difference from the 2011 quarterback crop they faced. Start with the headliners in Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Matthew Stafford. Two of the top three quarterbacks in the NFL (Brees), Rodgers and Brady can control a game with ease and both have the offensive weapons to test any defense in the NFL. Throw in one of the rising quarterbacks in the league with Stafford, who can put up yards in a hurry, and already they trump the top three of last season.

Looking at the second tier of quarterbacks, you have Peyton Manning, Joe Flacco and Jay Cutler. Manning would be higher but injury concerns have him in the second tier. If he could return to any shade of his old self, Manning we all know has the Texans’ number. As for Flacco and Cutler, both have shown they can make it happen through the air and, despite Cutler’s decision making, the Chicago Bears are a more dangerous team with him behind center.

As for the third tier, Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Christian Ponder, Andrew Luck, Blaine Gabbert, Matt Moore, David Garrard, Matt Hasselbeck and Jake Locker round out this group. Despite their position on this list, you have four quarterbacks with a playoff victory in Sanchez, Tebow, Garrard and Hasselbeck, and expecting some improvement from Gabbert and Locker, the group is already potentially better than the 2011 group. Moore and Fitzpatrick also showed some flashes as quarterbacks for their respective teams, but Fitzpatrick has the weapons in place to move up this list.


We are not trying to downplay what the Texans have done in 2011 but this is a new season. Looking at the NFL, the league is a quarterback driven league and the Texans were a prime example of this last season when T.J. Yates did an exceptional job for the hand he was dealt as a rookie.  However, when Matt Schaub  was in the lineup they were a completely different offensive team. The group of quarterbacks on the schedule this season should really test if the franchise has taken that step to be a team to watch for the coming years.

The competition is going to get tougher and the Texans will not shut down these quarterbacks completely, but the bar will be raised this season. The Texans are entering uncharted territory and the opposing quarterback play is a hurdle the team is going to have to face week in and week out.


You can follow Patrick on Twitter.  He is the Editor of State of the Texans and is a draft analyst on Sideline Scouting.



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