March 19, 2018

Can the Texans Offense Mirror the Patriots?

nfl_u_obrien2_kh_300x200When Houston Texans Head Coach Bill O’Brien was hired to be the new leader of the organization, there is no secret of the model he wants to follow. O’Brien is trying to bring a version of the “Patriot Way” to Houston, and turn this offense into an adaptable offense that can move the ball and score efficiently every game.

When watching the New England Patriots and their past offenses, it is apparent they have had a blue print for their offensive success.


The Blue Print


The Patriots offense plays with pace, fast or slow to keep defenses on their heels.


As an offense to spread it out or play power football when needed. Attacking the defense on what they do not defend well.


Adapting to conditions on the field and personnel on the team. Putting players in position to succeed and not asking them do things they are not capable of doing.


Prepared for every game and knowing exactly what the defense is going to do majority of the time.



Positional Analysis

** Disclaimer- We know that Tom Brady plays a huge part in the success of the offense in New England **


Quarterback Position

Obviously Tom Brady is on a level that no Texans quarterback has ever been on, and finding a player to do what Brady does is going to be tough. If you look at the only time that Brady did not take majority of the snaps in the season, look at the 2008 season with Matt Cassel as the quarterback. Cassel led the Patriots to an 11-5 record and passed for 3,693 yards with 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, with a 63.4% completion percentage. That should be reason enough to have hope that a quarterback, not named Brady, can produce in this offense.


Texans Current State

If you look at the current Texans quarterback position, there is no clue what the outcome will be. The reality is that there will probably be two new quarterbacks in camp next season, which will be fighting it out to be the 2014 starter. No matter the outcome and who the quarterback will be, a.) it should be an upgrade over any 2013 Texans quarterback and b.) Cassel’s success should leave hope that the Texans can make it work.


Running Backs (All Shapes and Sizes)

The Patriots have used different types of backs, and they tailored their offense around that particular running back. Since Bill Belichick took over the Patriots in 2000, he has employed the help of every type of running back imaginable on offense. Depending on the situation, the running back fit into what the offense was facing with the defense. There were big backs like Antwain Smith, Corey Dillon,  Sammy Morris, LaMont Jordan, LeGarrette Blount. Versatile backs like Kevin Faulk, Danny Woodhead and Stevan Ridley and the run of the mill backs like  J.R. Redmond, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Lawrence Maroney.

This is the one position that the Patriots are not scared of changing from season to season.


Texans Current State

The realization that the running back position can change from year to year should be another positive for the lack of depth the Texans currently have at the position. With the past history of what the Patriots have shown, the running back position should be looking at backs and what they do best. Examples of Woodhead, Faulk and Green-Ellis should be a calming factor that the Texans can find backs to compliment the offense and offensive sets on game days. The success players like these have showed on game days is a positive thing, it is up to the Texans to find these players for the upcoming season.


Wide Receivers (Production Players)

The history of the wide receiver’s in Belichick’s groups were highlighted by Wes Welker and Randy Moss, both who ended up being expendable when the time was right. The Patriots have had Troy Brown, Deion Branch, David Givens, Reche Caldwell, Julian Edleman and Wes Welker all lead the team in receiving for the season. Players like Terry Glenn, David Patten, Donte Stallworth, Jabar Gaffney, Brandon Tate, Chad Johnson, Brandon Llyod,  Danny Amendola, Aaron Dobson, Kembrell Tompkins and Austin Collie have all played roles in the production of the offense.

The Patriots have had players who stretch the field and attack the seams of the defense, but the one player that sets their offense a part in the slot wide receiver. A receiver who can create in the middle of the field and be the go to player that can turn a two yard catch into more.


Texans Current State

The Texans current starting wide receivers, Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins, rival the New England Patriots group led by Randy Moss and Wes Welker, but the edge goes to the Patriots. The point being is that the Texans have a more than capable group to be exactly what this offense needs. The only real thing to find is that true slot threat, and there are candidates in-house but getting them there is another question. Keshawn Martin, Alan Bonner or Mike Thomas could be the slot player the Texans need, but time will only tell if they have that player here in Houston.


Tight Ends (The Evolution)

It hasn’t always been Rob Gronkowski or Aaron Hernandez, the tight end group started with Daniel Graham, Christian Fauria and Ben Watson. With Gronkowski out in 2013, the Patriots turned to Michael Hoomanawanui and Matthew Mulligan to take up the slack.

The production was nowhere near what Gronkowski put up, but the evolution of the position to now started with tight ends who were not as athletically gifted. The Patriots have proven, just like all of the positions have evolved as the years have went on. They drafted right and turned the position into a money-maker on the field, that creates the ultimate mismatches for the offense.


Texans Current State

The Texans have a mixed bag at the tight end position and have Owen Daniels and the more athletic youngster Ryan Griffin. Both tight ends fit the mold of what the Patriots offense have used before, it is just up to O’Brien to figure out the direction he wants to go with the position. There will not be a Gronkowski in every draft, but he is definitely the bar that has been set for the position.


The reality is that the Texans with Bill O’Brien being with the Patriots for the time he was, has the blueprint to have something successful in Houston offensively. It is based off knowing the personnel on the team and most importantly getting them in positions to succeed. Seeing what the Patriots had with players during this time period, should provide some hope on what the Texans could possibly do.

Plenty is based off of what Tom Brady has done as the team’s quarterback, but seeing some success with Matt Cassel in the one year as a started in New England should open eyes for what could be.


You can follow Patrick on Twitter.  He is the Editor of State of the Texans.

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