After what has been a tumultuous off-season, the Texans finally kick off the season tonight against the Saints in New Orleans.
The off-season included a little bit of everything. The team fired General Manager Brian Gaine in June. The contract dispute between the organization and Jadeveon Clowney led to a trade Labor Day weekend to Seattle. And then there was another trade over Labor Day that saw the Texans give up a pair of future first round picks for Left Tackle Laremy Tunsil and receiver Kenny Stills. Tunsil will now be protecting the blind side of quarterback Deshaun Watson. He says despite having limited time to learn the offense, he's had no problems adjusting to his new team.
"The NFL is a copycat league. It's the same concept, just different terminology. That's what makes it easy," Tunsil said last week.
The offense also lost Lamar Miller to a knee injury in pre-season, and he is out for the entire year. Duke Johnson, who came over in a trade with the Browns over the summer, will be the Texans' lead back.
As for the defense, without Clowney, J.J. Watt knows they will be put to the test tonight against a high powered Saints attack featuring Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, and Michael Thomas.
"They have great playmakers on their side of the ball," Watt stated.
And Coach Bill O'Brien knows the Saints will be looking to get off to a big start.
"They start fast. They come out of the gates ready to go. We have to be ready for that," O'Brien said.
The Texans went 11-5 last year, winning the AFC South before losing to the Indianapolis Colts in the playoffs. Tonight's game will kick off under the bright lights of Monday Night Football after 6 p.m.