One thing you can always count on in the NFL from season to season — rampant roster turnover. With contracts not being fully guaranteed, and players hitting free agency (for the most part) after just four seasons, roster construction is a practically year-round endeavor. As a result, there are very few players who stick with a team for longer than one contract, let alone an entire career.
So, as the Texans begin their spin around the league in Week 1, starting with a trip to New Orleans to face the Saints on a Monday night, they are going to see at least one familiar face (and, in a few cases, more than one) on the other side of the line of scrimmage in most of their games. In fact, let's explore this a little bit further. Let's rank the Texans' 2019 opponents based on the historical Texans' prominence (about as subjective a vetting process as you can get) of the most renowned former Texan on each team.
Here we go.... actually, let's get two of them out of the way.....
Best I can tell — and I checked at least twice on each team — there are no former Texans on either the Colts or the Raiders. The good news is that there are plenty of other reasons to hate each of these franchises! So yippee!
11. LA CHARGERS: Troymaine Pope, RB
Pope was in Texans training camp last year, and I actually had him making the 53-man roster through about three versions of my annual roster predictions. However, things fell apart toward the end of camp, and he didn't make the team. I just can't get mad at Troymaine Pope, which is why the Chargers are ranked here.
10. CAROLINA: Taylor Heinicke, QB
Heinicke played a handful of snaps in the Christmas Day Massacre against the Steelers in 2017. He completed his only pass as a Texan, and was concussed on the only sack that he took as a Texan, quite the dichotomy! Merry Christmas, Taylor!
9. TAMPA BAY: Andre Ellington, RB
Ellington was, like Heinicke, another body brought into town amidst the sea of injuries in 2017. He finished with 2 yards on 5 carries. God, 2017 sucked SO BAD!
8. NEW ORLEANS: Kayvon Webster, CB
Hey, speaking of guys who hardly ever played, Webster was signed by the Texans last year after Kevin Johnson went on injured reserve one game into the year. When Webster was finally activated in Week 5, he got injured after two snaps. When he came back in Week 16, he lasted five snaps. Seven snaps, all for the low, low price of $1.078 million! AMERICA!
7. BALTIMORE: Tyler Ervin, RB
Ervin was a fourth round pick in 2016 for whom the Texans had high hopes of turning into a solid third down running back and a threat in the return game. He became neither, and was released midway through last season in favor of signing DeAndre Carter off the waiver wire.
6. TENNESSEE: Ben Jones, C
How can we hate Ben Jones? Answer — it's impossible to hate Ben Jones. The man is a jolly fat person who revels in eating live insects. We miss you, Ben Jones.
5. NEW ENGLAND: Brian Hoyer, QB
Honestly, it's a little scary how many former Texans are on the DEFENDING SUPER CHAMPS. Ever wonder what happened to Stephen Anderson, John Simon, or Ufomba Kamalu? Well, they all have Super Bowl rings, goddammit. However, the one former Texan we will choose for this exercise is backup QB Brian Hoyer, on the strength of his five turnover performance in the playoffs in January 2016 against the Chiefs.
4. JACKSONVILLE: A.J. Bouye, CB
Hey, did you know that Alfred Blue is the backup running back in Jacksonville? So his barely-three-yards-per-carry vibe is now the Jags' problem. It's tempting to put Alfred Blue in here for purposes of this post, but I'm going with Bouye, who left after a great 2016 season, when the Texans could have used the franchise tag to keep him. Still hurts, man.
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3. ATLANTA: Matt Schaub, QB
Yes, Schaubbie is still clocking dollars in the NFL! In fact, he signed a two year deal with the Falcons this past offseason, and if he sees both years of that deal, he will have been a Falcon in the NFL for as long as he was a Texan, seven years in each place. Someday, Matt Schaub will be invited back to NRG Stadium for some sort of Texan gathering (NOT his own Ring of Honor ceremony, to be clear), and it will be interesting to see the reception he gets.
2. KANSAS CITY: Tyrann Mathieu, S
He was only here for one season, but the recency of the Honey Badger Experience is going to make the Kansas City game in Week 6 a very intense one for Texans fans and, I would imagine, Texans offensive players. Mathieu left for one of the most lucrative safety contracts in the league. He was pretty good as a Texan, probably more hype than substance, and I honestly think Tashaun Gipson is going to be an upgrade at safety.
1. DENVER: Kareem Jackson, CB
Nine years with one team is a long time. That's what Jackson spent here in Houston, most of it as a cornerback until his final season where he sprinkled in some safety. He left here this past offseason for a nice $11 million per year deal in Denver. It will be awfully strange seeing K-JAX in another uniform here at NRG Stadium in Week 14.