Issues in Indy Leave Texans Opening to Move Up the Pecking Order
Jonathan Taylor's uncertain future deals blow to chance Colts bounce back
The Houston Texans will not finish last in the AFC South in consecutive years. While this is merely my statement and belief, it gets easier to see how it happens by the day.
This week the Indianapolis Colts allowed one of the best players in the division, and maybe the best player on their team, to seek a trade. Jonathan Taylor wants to be well compensated and the Colts seem unwilling to get near his price.
The sides seem set on divorce, and the Texans stand to benefit.
Jonathan Taylor was one of the best players in football in 2021. He played in all 17 games and led the NFL in rushing yards by almost 600 yards. He scored more touchdowns than anyone in football with 20 total.
Sure, 2022 was disappointing overall, but the entire Colts organization failed, not just Taylor’s health. When he played he was still one of the best players on the field. In his last four games in 2022, he was close to himself.
Now he couldn’t be further from playing a game for the Colts.
The Texans were just one game behind the Colts in the win column last year. Indianapolis entered as AFC South favorites while the Texans had zero expectations. The wins for the Colts were more impressive than the wins for Houston, sure, but the Colts were as embarrassing down the stretch as the Texans. Maybe more.
The Texans have the better quarterback and maybe the better head coach for their situation. I’m willing to discuss the latter, but not the former. C.J. Stroud, today, is a better quarterback than Anthony Richardson. The excitement around Richardson is built on maybes and potential. Stroud will be better in week one, and week two when he faces off against Richardson. His accuracy is better than Richardson’s right now, and that isn’t something that is improving in the next month for the Colts.
I wouldn’t feel this way if Jonathan Taylor was playing. I’d be scared to death of a rushing attack taking over games, calming down a rookie, and featuring one of the most dynamic runners. The timing of deciding to rely on nobodies relative to Taylor is curious. It could, and likely will, sink Richardson’s rookie year. I don’t know how Indianapolis will consistently move the ball.
Houston also should possess an advantage on the offensive line too. Now with Taylor’s uncertain future, put a check on running back in favor of the Texans. That’s a good start to making sure this season the Colts are looking up at you if you’re the Texans. Taylor could have been a stabilizing difference-maker, instead, he might be someone else’s star.
Overall the Colts have the better roster, but they’re entering the season less talented than a year ago. The Texans are more talented than a year ago. The gap has closed in plenty of areas and the final difference in wins and losses was a single game just last season.
Add in the uncertainties in Tennessee and suddenly the picture behind the defending AFC South Jacksonville Jaguars is far from clear. The arrow is pointing up for the Texans while Indianapolis spins its arrow as if they are deciding the next body part and color in a game of Twister.
There is no incentive to lose for the Texans this year. Their selection is headed to Arizona. Just one team finished worse than the Texans last year. The goal this year is to put as many teams between the worst record in football and Houston as possible. No better place to start than in the division with the Colts.
AFC South Running Back Rankings
Whatever the Colts plan to do instead of paying and playing Jonathan Taylor