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Texas Football is Back

Carson, Staff Editor

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The Expectations:

            The saying everything is bigger in Texas may be an overused term, but it rings true when it comes to football. As such, it was surprising that expectations for the two Texas teams were very average. The Texans were barely expected to post a winning record, with ESPN predicting a 9-7 record (they actually hit the record exactly). Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys expectations ranged, but most had the Cowboys missing the playoffs or getting in as a wild card. ESPN predicted the Cowboys to finish with a 10-6 record. Neither team was expected to be in the running for the Super Bowl.

New future franchise quarterback Brock Osweiler arrived to Houston, fresh off of playing only 6 games and receiving a $72-million-dollar contract. He was expected to finally bring the Texans some stability at QB from the fans, and with the top of the league defense, it was easy to be optimistic, even considering the average expectations from the media. Meanwhile, 4th round pick Dak Prescott was performing amazingly in the pre-season, but was expected to slow down in the regular season once he played some real defenses. Ezekiel Elliott was expected to play great, but there was debate whether the Cowboys should’ve gone defense with their number 4 pick in the draft.

  • “After Romo went down I thought they were gonna do terrible and not even be in the running for the playoffs let alone Super Bowl.” Sophomore Emily Godwin

The Seasons:

            In retrospect, the Texans season will go down as a good step forward. While Brock Osweiler was flat out horrid at some points (2,957 yards, 15 TD’s, 16 INT’s, 59% completion rate, 72.2 passer rating) and the Texans finished at 9-7 for the 3rd consecutive season, it was a good step forward for the franchise. J.J. Watt was injured and out for the season just 3 weeks in and the team seemed left for dead. However, Jadeveon Clowney had a breakout year, recording 6 sacks, earning a spot on the All-NFL team, and helping lead the defense in JJ’s Watt absence, becoming the number 1 ranked defense in the NFL, without him. Will Fuller showed flashes of what he could be in the league early on in the season, and it all culminated in a 2nd straight division crown.

The Texans hosted the Oakland Raiders in the wild card round looking for their first playoff win since 2012. The Raiders were starting 3rd string QB Connor Cook and the Texans defense feasted. The defense forced turnovers as Jadeveon Clowney had a pick early in the game and the offense capitalized as the Texans won 27-13. The Texans went on the road to Foxborough and played better than anyone would’ve expected, but the offense couldn’t get going as the Texans season ended in the Divisional round against the Patriots 34-16. By the end of the season however, there was reason to believe the Texans are close to being real contenders.

  •  “It starts with me. I don’t point fingers. I look in the mirror. I look right square in the mirror and I figure out what I can do better. And I’m already thinking about that right now. You can’t have the offense where it’s at in this league, and expect to win a championship. And so we’ve got to figure it out, we’ve got to improve.” Texans head coach Bill O’Brien

The end of the season was a mixed bag of emotions for Cowboys fans, as they failed to win a playoff game after finishing first in the conference. However, the Cowboys weren’t even expected to be in position for a playoff run and instead almost made it to the NFC Championship. After Tony Romo was injured in the pre-season and was expected to miss half the season, most people expected another down season from the Boys. Then 2 rookies took the league by storm. Dak Prescott performed above and beyond anyone’s expectations (3,667 yards, 23 TD’s, 4 INT’s, 68% completion, 104.9 passer rating). He was methodical, but he couldn’t have performed as well without the other half of his rookie duo. Ezekiel Elliott was electric (1,631 yards, 15 TD’s, 5.1 yards per carry.) and one of the most exciting players to watch in the NFL.

The two rookies led the way as the Cowboys amassed a 13-3 record in the regular season and the first seed in the NFC. The season ended when the Cowboys ran into the Packers, while Aaron Rodgers was performing at an all-time great stretch in QB history. The Cowboys and Packers played one of the most exciting games of the season. The cowboys fought back from a 28-13 deficit at the start of the 4th quarter, but Aaron Rodgers made amazing play after amazing play, and pulled his team together to put together a game winning drive to kick the game winning field goal while time expired to win 34-31. It was a disappointing ending to an amazing season for the Cowboys.

 

  •  “The season was awesome. I am sad they didn’t get to the Super Bowl but for 2 rookies to do as amazing as they did I couldn’t be happier and I can’t wait for next year.” Sophomore Emily Godwin

 

Looking Ahead:

                As the Texans look ahead, the number one priority has to be getting someone reliable under center. The Texans were once again undone by their offense in the playoffs. Brock Osweiler threw 3 interceptions vs. the Patriots and failed to capitalize on turnovers by the Patriots. The team has never had a reliable QB under center for the entirety of their existence, and will need to get one soon if they want to put together a Super Bowl run. This team is only a few pieces away, and getting a good QB is the top priority. Most expect the Texans to take defense or offensive line, but they could also take Deshaun Watson or DeShone Kizer if they fell to him. Although there is a big QB name on the market. Speaking of….

The Dallas Cowboys number one priority is figuring out what to do with Tony Romo. The big name QB is already being linked to different teams, with the Denver Broncos and the Houston Texans becoming popular suitors. The Texans and Cowboys have recently been linked for a speculated JJ Watt for Tony Romo trade, although the probability is highly unlikely this could happen. Wherever Romo goes, the Cowboys must improve on their defense. The Cowboys got shredded at times on defense in the regular season, due to their inability to rush the QB. David Irving came on strong at the end of the season, but the Cowboys have to find someone to pair him up with on the line.

Conclusion:

  •             “Sharing the victory in the wild card round and being able to support the team and be a part of that, even on the sideline was special.” Texans player JJ Watt
  •             “My favorite moment was Dak’s turnaround and finding Jason Witten in the endzone to win in overtime against the Eagles.” Sophomore John Paul

Although neither the Texans or Cowboys seasons ended the way they wanted, the franchises have some of the brightest futures ahead of them of any team in the league. Both teams are set up to compete for titles for years to come. The Texans are one piece away from competing for a Super Bowl and the Cowboys are already set up for years to come. Texas football looks to be promising for many years to come.

 

 

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Texas Football is Back