HOUSTON -- There is no sport where it's harder to identify the impact of an individual than in football.
Football results from choreography, and that's why free agency tends not to have as big an impact in this sport than in many others. In fact, the biggest spenders in free agency often don't improve unless they sign one of the greatest quarterbacks ever, as the Denver Broncos did four years ago.
The Houston Texans added an instant upgrade on Wednesday by snagging former Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler, a move that can't be made official until 4 p.m. ET Wednesday when the new league year begins. But he'll need help.
He comes to a team that had holes everywhere on offense. That's not an exaggeration.
The Texans have needs on their offensive line -- especially with the departure of center Ben Jones in free agency. They also lost Brandon Brooks, whom they've replaced with former Chiefs guard Jeff Allen. They need a receiver to complement DeAndre Hopkins so that when Hopkins draws double-teams it doesn't hamstring their quarterback. They needed a running back, having moved on from Arian Foster, and are addressing that with the speedy Lamar Miller. Miller will be 25 this season and can offer three productive years.
They need upgrades at tight end after a season in which they had the second-worst completion percentage to tight ends in the entire NFL. That followed a season in which the Texans targeted tight ends fewer times than any other team in the league. And they need a left tackle to eventually take over for Duane Brown.
If you're keeping score at home, heading into free agency, that accounted for a need at every position. For the Osweiler era to truly work, the Texans need their newcomers to pan out and to continue to fill the holes that remain.
They've spent a lot here in free agency to address some of what ailed their offense last season. The Texans ranked 31st in yards per play in 2015. The draft also offers options at running back, tight end and receiver. It's also a very deep class for offensive linemen, especially tackles. Adding Osweiler also doesn't preclude the Texans from drafting another quarterback.
Adding Osweiler is a step in the right direction. He'll help the Texans, but they have to help him, too.