Earlier this week we took a position-by-position look at the Texans' defense.
Today, we'll do the same with the other side of the ball -- a group that looks dramatically different than last season and has many unanswered questions.
Analysis: It's the most important position on the field and one that looks very different from the group Texans coach Bill O'Brien had when he began as the Texans head coach last January. Savage was drafted last May, Mallett arrived in an Aug. 31 trade and Hoyer was a free-agent addition this March. After minicamp ended, O'Brien said there wasn't much separation between Mallett and Hoyer and the decision wasn't yet made, though Hoyer seemed more comfortable in those sessions than Mallett did. The decision on the Texans' starter could be made in the first week of camp, which would allow time for those joint practices against Washington.
Analysis: This group is constructed with the assumption that there will be some games, or parts of games, during which the Texans won't have the services of Foster. When healthy he's dynamic, but as he approaches age 30, he'll have some injuries as the season goes on. Blue's development will be critical to this group as he has the potential to become a three-down back. Foster said he's working with Blue on developing those third-down skills. Last season the Texans typically brought in Grimes on third downs. They drafted Hilliard to be a two-down back, O'Brien said. Polk signed in free agency and could have an impact on returns.
Analysis: Another dramatically different position group for the Texans with the additions of Strong and Mumphery in the draft and Washington and Shorts in free agency. Washington, who played for the Tennessee Titans last season, has drawn plenty of praise from O'Brien this offseason. His yards per catch ranked second in the AFC South last season and Hopkins was ranked third in the division, though Hopkins had significantly more catches. The Texans are looking to Shorts to play inside and outside. Strong has worked through an injury during the offseason programs, but will have a chance to rebound from that during training camp.
Analysis: This position was not very productive during the 2014 season, and their improvement has been a point of focus both for the players and their coaches. Fiedorowicz, a third-round draft pick last season, played better, especially as a blocker, late in the season.
Analysis: The Texans re-signed Newton, investing financially in a player with whom they'd invested time and who developed into a strong right tackle. Brooks will be entering a contract year if the Texans don't sign him to an extension before the season begins. Su'a-Filo, drafted with the 33rd overall pick last season, is moving into the starting left guard role as Jones takes over as the starting center. Jones was thought to be a top center the year he was drafted, but played behind Chris Myers for three years. The Texans cut Myers this season, but have contacted him about returning to the team. We haven't mentioned Brown yet because there's not a lot to discuss there. Brown has been a stalwart for the Texans for the past several years. He believed he could have been more consistent last season, but the two-time Pro Bowl lineman has elite ability. And of course, the best news in this group is that it's possible that Quessenberry will return to the field this year. He's in remission from non-Hodgkins T lymphoblastic lymphoma, with which he was diagnosed with in June 2014.