There are a lot of unknowns surrounding the Houston Texans organization under second-year head coach Bill O'Brien.
O'Brien is trying to get the Texans players to buy into his coaching philosophy and tinker with the roster that he wants to take the field when the season starts.
Goodbye to a veteran
During the off-season, O'Brien and the Texans organization decided to move on from several veteran players that played an important role with the team. One player in particular that will be difficult to replace is the Texans' all-time leading receiver and fan favorite, Andre Johnson.
In the 2003 NFL draft, the Houston Texans drafted Andre Johnson with the third pick overall. Johnson has spent nine NFL seasons with the Texans organization and is the all-time leading receiver with 706 receptions for 9,656 receiving yards and 52 touchdowns.
During the off-season O'Brien spoke with Johnson about his role with the team in the upcoming 2015 season and told Johnson that his role would be decreased. O'Brien and the Texans organization ultimately decided to release Johnson because of his unhappiness to accept a decreased role.
After Johnson's exodus from the Houston Texans organization he decided to sign with division rival Indianapolis Colts.
Next man up
With Johnson no longer manning down that number one receiver spot for the Texans offense, the hope is that DeAndre Hopkins can step up and fill that void.
This is one of the reasons why Hopkins was drafted with the Texas 27th overall pick back in the 2013 NFL draft. The Texans organization envisioned Hopkins to eventually take over for Andre Johnson at some point, and the time is now for Hopkins to become the wide receiver that the Texans had drafted him to become.
The question remains, is DeAndre Hopkins ready to step up and be that player that opposing defenses have to game plan for?
In the 2014 season, Hopkins was able to bring in 76 receptions for 1,210 and six touchdowns. This is pretty impressive considering he was playing second fiddle to Andre Johnson and the trouble the Houston Texans had at the quarterback position.
Catching passes from lackluster NFL quarterbacks such as Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallett, and Case Keenum probably won't allow any wide receivers to put up spectacular numbers, but Hopkins was still able to have a pretty decent 2014 season.
Things might be a little more difficult for Hopkins in 2015.
The Texans have yet to decide on a starting quarterback. Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer are both splitting practice reps to try to win the starting quarterback job, but keep an eye on a dark horse candidate that might make the coaches decision all the more difficult.
Second-year quarterback Tom Savage could possibly be throwing passes to Hopkins next season, but he has a long way to go to distance himself from Mallett and Hoyer.
No matter who is throwing the ball to Hopkins next season, he will undoubtedly be covered by the opposing defenses top cornerback.
This will be something that Hopkins will have to deal with now that he is the number one receiver for the Texans and might be vastly different from what he has had to face the past while playing behind Andre Johnson.
DeAndre Hopkins has the tools that he needs to become a successful number one receiver for the Texans, but it is yet to be proven that he can handle the job. It will be interesting to see if these ready to accept the responsibility.
Do you think DeAndre Hopkins can step up and be the Texans number one receiver?
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