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Houston Texans season preview: J.J. Watt gets help


Around The NFL's season preview starts in the AFC South.

Change we can believe in


Jadeveon Clowney has been as good as advertised as the No. 1 overall pick. He's shown power, speed, quickness and reminded us he possesses the capability of delivering a devastating blow.

The pair of Clowney and J.J. Watt is something even the grumpiest of curmudgeons could rave about positively. Watt has put up the best back-to-back seasons of any defensive lineman in the past two decades. Pairing that ball-swatting beast with a physical pass-rushing specimen like Clowney should make offensive lineman sweat.

The name of the game is finding an advantage and exploiting that edge. W&C Corp. sitting on the same line will cause offenses to adjust their protections and how many receivers they can put in formation. That alone is a big benefit before the ball is even snapped.

Biggest concern


The adage is simple: A team can't win NFL games without a consistent, competent quarterback. Whether Ryan Fitzpatrick is competent is debatable. Whether he is consistent is laughable. The first two preseason games encapsulate Fitzpatrick in a nutshell: The epitome of awful in a blowout loss; then average with a couple Fitzmagic plays hidden in during a blowout win.

Yes, it's only preseason, but Fitzpatrick is who we thought he was: an erratic, inconsistent signal-caller who has won 35 percent of the games he's started in a nine-year career.

Case Keenum hasn't been done anything to take the job away and rookie Tom Savage has averaged 2.75 yards-per-attempted in two preseason games.

Notable Madden ratings

The position is at least a year away from being remedied. Sadly, that means another year of struggling in Houston.

Training camp surprise


While the quarterback situation continues to a be mess, Bill O'Brien wasted no time overhauling the backfield. The team cut Andre Brown, Dennis Johnson and Tim Cornett earlier this month. The moves indicate the Texans have found a duo to succeed Arian Foster when he inevitably leaves (or gets injured, again).

Jonathan Grimes has shown power and good drive through the hole in two preseason games. We can take only so much from these games, but Grimes has earned Pro Football Focus' highest Elusive Rating, forcing eight missed tackles in 19 rush attempts. Meanwhile, Alfred Blue might have more upside. The 6-foot-2, 222 pounds rookie isn't a speedster, but displays explosiveness in space and good vision.

What we'll be saying in February


We'll be wondering what Bill O'Brien's next move is at the quarterback position and how Watt is worth every penny he's owed.

Around The NFL's predicted finish: Third place in AFC South, No. 30 in Around The NFL's Power Index.

The latest "Around the League Podcast" talks quarterback battles and debates the gang's preseason power rankings.

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