The Houston Texans looked to be a team that is on the rise and could possibly be a playoff contender in 2015.
It will be interesting to see the different storylines that develop when the Texans organization is featured on the HBO series Hard Knocks and there will be several things that I will personally be keeping an eye on.
One thing in particular that I want to pay close attention to and something that I believe can pay huge dividends for the Texans organization is whether or not there's enough leadership on the team.
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Okay, I know what you're thinking. How can a team that features players like J.J. Watt, Brian Cushing, and Arian Foster be lacking in the leadership department? Yes, the Texans do have leaders on the team but are they the right type of leaders that can rally the team and pick them up when they are most needed.
There are a lot of leadership traits and people that are in that role as a leader might do it differently than someone else.
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I think both Watt and Cushing are both leaders that can help the defensive side of the ball. They both have the leadership traits that you want on the team both on and off the field. They help to bring out the best in their teammates and boost the overall productivity of the entire defense.
The defensive side of the ball also has veteran leader Vince Wilfork to count on for his veteran leadership and his experience in playing in big games.
Foster on the other hand is more of a lead by example player. He seems to call about his business and doesn't really seem as vocal as Watt and Cushing. That's not to say that he is in the leadership role on the opposite side of the ball, but that the offense might mean a more vocal leader to take command on the field and in the meetings.
Usually, this is where the quarterback comes into play. Unfortunately, the Texans have yet to discover their franchise quarterback and still haven't decided who their starting quarterback will be when they take the field in week one of the 2015 season.
Can Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett take on that leadership role for the offense or is someone else going to step up?
Personally, I think that both Mallett and Hoyer have the right type of personality that they can come in and command the offense but also think that there needs to be other players that step up and become leaders.
I think this is especially true for the wide receiver group.
With the departure of 12 year veteran and fan favorite Andre Johnson, someone will have to step up and help fill the leadership void for the young wide receiver group.
You could possibly argue that it is DeAndre Hopkins' job to not only step into the number one receiver role created by Johnson's departure, but also his leadership role as well.
Head coach Bill O'Brien is even spoken of this.
"You don't replace a guy like Andre Johnson," said O'Brien. "He was a guy who played here for many, many years. Had over 12,000 receiving yards and things like that. We're not looking at it that way. What we look at is basically how we slot the receivers. We have a No. 1, 2, 3, 4 and a 5 and right now we feel really good about the competition at the position. We feel good about Hopkins, obviously he's going to have a really good year."
I'm sure the coaching staff and the Texans organization is hoping that Hopkins is ready to take on that role, but there are other receivers that can help. During the off-season the Texans signed veteran wide receiver Nate Washington and he seems to be ready to help in any way that he can.
Nate Stepping In
"Any level, any team, first and foremost being the veteran, I'm going to have to be a leader," said Washington. "I've spent some time, I have been around this league. I will be up to push younger guys in a good direction. It will be up to me to make sure we are handling everything we are supposed to do on and off the field."
Even though the Texans might not have that traditional leadership on the opposite side of ball coming from the quarterback position, it doesn't mean that there are not players taking a leadership role.
I will however be keeping a close eye on who exactly decides to take on more of a leadership role and who their teammates tend to turn to when the HBO series Hard Knocks finally airs.
Who do you think might step up and be more of a leader for the Texans in 2015? Tell us below...
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