- Associated Press - Monday, July 27, 2015


OPEN CAMP: July 31, Houston.

LAST YEAR: In first season under coach Bill O’Brien, improved seven games from terrible 2-14 campaign in 2013 behind spectacular year by DE J.J. Watt, NFL’s Defensive Player of Year for second time in his four pro seasons. But last year’s No. 1 overall pick, OLB Jadeveon Clowney, played just four games because of injuries. That coupled with injuries to several quarterbacks kept Houston from returning to postseason.

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: NT Vince Wilfork; QB Brian Hoyer; S Rahim Moore; CB Kevin Johnson; WRs Jaelen Strong, Nate Washington and Cecil Shorts III.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: WR Andre Johnson; S D.J. Swearinger; QB Ryan Fitzpatrick; C Chris Myers.

CAMP NEEDS: After using four quarterbacks because of injuries, they’ll use camp to decide whether Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett will start. Mallett made first two starts of career last year after Texans benched Fitzpatrick. But he tore pectoral muscle and missed rest of season. Hoyer, who started 13 games for Cleveland last season, signed with Houston in offseason. Texans also need to see progress of Clowney’s rehabilitation from December microfracture surgery and if he’ll be ready for Week 1.

EXPECTATIONS: Defense will be strength of team with Watt, Wilfork and hopefully Clowney, but fate of Texans will rely heavily on how quarterback performs in division featuring Andrew Luck and Colts. WR DeAndre Hopkins should fill in ably for Johnson, but Shorts, Washington or third-round pick Strong will need to step up. They’ll also need strong performance from RB Arian Foster, who has dealt with injuries in recent seasons and turns 29 this summer. He’ll work behind line with Ben Jones moving into a starting role after release of veteran Myers.


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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