Devoting a considerable amount of time and financial resources into upgrading their offense, the Houston Texans overhauled that unit this offseason.
They invested a four-year, $72 million contract in former Denver Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler. They signed former Miami Dolphins running back Lamar Miller to a four-year, $26 million deal. They signed former Kansas City Chiefs offensive guard Jeff Allen to a four-year, $28 million deal and they drafted speedy Notre Dame wide receiver Will Fuller in the first round.
Although the offense has displayed signs of improvement, especially a running game led by Miller that ranks 12th in the NFL, the passing game, scoring offense and red-zone scoring offense haven't met expectations.
Texans general manager Rick Smith emphasized the need for patience and perspective as the new personnel learn how to play together.
"It's interesting you mention there are a lot of new faces," Smith said during a Heads Up Football event at the Houston Methodist Training center. "It takes some time for all of that to come together and certainly the guys are working to do that. I think we've shown flashes, but, again, the consistency is what has to happen for us to be able to play the way we want to be able to play.
"I think it's important to keep perspective. We've got a lot of young players, particularly on the offensive side of the ball and a lot of guys who haven't played together before. It does take some time for guys to come together and I expect that we will. I think you do that through repetition, you do that by working hard and by having success. I think we're on our way to doing that."
The Texans rank 29th in total offense, averaging 319.6 yards per contest. They are 30th in passing offense, averaging 204.3 yards per game as Osweiler has a 71.9 passer rating with eight touchdowns and eight interceptions. They are 31st in scoring offense, averaging 16.7 points per game and they are last in red-zone offense.
The Texans are winless on the road against an elite group -- the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos, the Minnesota Vikings and the New England Patriots. They've been outscored in those three road losses by a combined margin of 85-22.
Despite those shortcomings, the Texans (4-3) are in first place in the AFC South division behind a dramatic comeback win over the Indianapolis Colts on Oct. 16 engineered by Osweiler's two late touchdown passes.
"No. 1, when you look at our division, we're in good shape," Smith said. "When you look at our play at home, we're undefeated at home. Where we have not been consistent is on the road. We've got to find a way to do that and be more consistent, but that's what the season is all about.
"I think our team is a hard-working team. I've said many times there's a correlation between the work that goes on during the week and what happens on game day. And we've got to continue to do that."