Not only did they hire a new coach (DeMeco Ryans), but they got busy in free agency, signing several key players like safety Jimmie Ward, defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins, cornerback Shaquill Griffin, tight end Dalton Schultz, wide receiver Noah Brown and running back Devin Singletary. They also upgraded their offensive line by making a trade with Tampa Bay for offensive guard Shaq Mason. Oh, and they also drafted their QB of the future (C.J. Stroud) while also getting the top defensive player in the NFL Draft (Will Anderson Jr.).
One other addition they made was the signing of Robert Woods. The receiver has been with the team since March and after spending two months with the organization, he made a very interesting comparison: Woods says the 2023 Texans remind of him the 2017 Rams, a team that was coached by Sean McVay, who was then in his first year.
During the 2016 season, the Rams finished 4-12, which led to the firing of Jeff Fisher. Woods signed with the Rams in 2017 and he immediately thought they were going to be good because of the head coach.
"I see from our defensive side a lot of energy, a lot of juice," Woods said recently, via The Texans Wire. "Spreading over to the offense, I think a lot of hungry players, hungry coaches. I feel like this is a similar situation, I feel like to when I came to L.A. with a young McVay."
Woods is seeing the same energy in Houston that he saw during McVay's first year in Los Angeles.
"Some say it was a rebuild," Woods said of the Rams' turnaround. "But I feel like it was just a team buying into your coach, believing in the coach, believing in the system, and I think coach Ryans has that here. Got a lot of young players buying into this offense and into this defense and into this culture, and we can change this environment."
The Texans finished 3-13-1 last season and they'd probably be thrilled to follow the same path as the 2017 Rams. In McVay's first year with the team, the Rams went 11-5 while also qualifying for the playoffs (they lost in the wild card round). One year later, McVay had them in the Super Bowl, a game they would lose to the Patriots 13-3. Woods spent a total of six seasons with the Rams, a span that included TWO Super Bowl trips and one win.
If Woods is right about this comparison, the Texans could end up being one of the surprise teams of 2023.