Welcome to the Podcast AF offseason review series, astutely titled “The Probe” – the unofficial official NFL offseason review series of the Vegas Golden Knights. Here, like most NFL “writers”, I will regurgitate takes I read or heard somewhere else and pass them off as original thoughts. Will Ryan Tannehill breakout in 2018? Was Mike McCarthy abandoned by the run game as a child? Does Saturn have a playoff atmosphere? Your questions, answered! Sponsored by “Ready Player One”, in theaters now!
#18 – The Houston Texans (4-12, 3rd AFC South)
I hate when you have a great idea, work really hard on it, and then it doesn’t come to fruition. I just finished watching Bruins-Maple Leads game five, and after Noel Acciari’s goal I finally decided to quickly whip up an idea that’s been marinading.
I know the bottom right looks shoddy and the “Acciari’s” part has that look to it that anything more than a quick glance prompts a stare, like seeing a bookshelf and one book isn’t in alphabetical order and you just know there’s a secret masturbation chamber behind that bookshelf. You act cool for the rest of the therapy session, but your therapist can tell you’re tense and they know you know. They guide the rest of the session like Bobby guiding the child molester to the soda machine in The Florida Project. Then they ask you if you like Huey Lewis and the News and you’re like:
…and you run like you have DeShaun Watson’s offensive line.
Unfortunately for the Texans, they couldn’t just show up for the playoffs.
Bill O’Brien tried his best to keep DeShaun Watson safe with quick passes and designed sprints/rollouts, but an injury was inevitable with this offensive line. Even prior to the draft, the Texans have already acquired three hypothetically new starters with two more linemen coming back from injury. Here’s a theoretical rundown:
LT: Julie’n Davenport (Last year’s 6th-round pick)
LG: Zach Fulton – signed 4/$28M (UFA – KC; started at various positions across KC’s OL last season with success)
C: Nick Martin (missed final 3 games with ankle injury)
RG: Jeff Allen (moved all around the OL last season; missed games with injury)
RT: Seantrel Henderson – signed 1/$4M (UFA – BUF; famously suspended 4 games and then 10 games for testing positive for marijuana, which he uses to deal with pain related to Crohn’s Disease)
ALSO: Senio Kelemete – 3/$12M (UFA – NO; started 8 total games at guard and tackle)
So here are 5 names. Many of them graded out poorly on PFF. I reckon Kelemete will start somewhere on the OL at some point as he’s proven his versatility/someone is bound to get injured since it’s the Texans. Allen may find success not being asked to play LT like he was last season. Fulton may also perform better not having to play musical chairs. Josh Sitton famously said switching sides of the OL is like trying to wipe your ass with the other hand.
Luckily Watson has a guy in DeAndre Hopkins whose a top-5 WR that he can throw the ball up to if need be. Behind Hopkins are some speedy receivers in Will Fuller and Braxton Miller.
You may remember all of their TEs being hunted by defenses early last season (along with the rest of the roster). Of them, Ryan Griffin is back.
I’m intrigued by the RB situation because the Texans aid this week they’re considering bringing back Alfred Blue. Lamar Miller still performed well despite the offensive line, but the Texans could dave $12M by cutting him if they determine D’Onta Foreman is a fine enough RB, which I think he is.
*Worth noting that O’Brien is allegedly installing an entire new offense to fit Deshaun Watson’s strengths, so going off of past individual failure/success may not be a great predictor for the offensive line.
Movie Comparison: All The Money In The World because they had to redo it with a new guy after the old guy had a bone exposed.
The Houston Plague spread to the defense where JJ Watt, Whitney Mercilus, and Christian Covington succumbed to injuries. Watt in particular was quite the spectacle, as a helicopter literally followed the ambulance as he was transported to the hospital.
Pissed I can’t find the helicopter footage.
Every player in this front seven is awesome, but losing Watt and Mercilus really tanks the whole operation. But with them, along with Jadeveon Clowney across from Mercilus, Zach Cunningham and Benardrick McKinney at the ILB spots, DJ Reader at DT, and Joel Heath and Christian Covington rotating at the other DE spot, I don’t know how teams beat it.
When Watt and Mercilus went down, (in the same week 5 game against the Chiefs, for that matter) opposing teams had a field day on the aging secondary devoid of talent. The Texans clearly prefer to invest in their pass rush instead of spending big on their secondary, that’s why they opted to re-sign Jonathan Joseph to a cheap deal and bring in nickel corner Aaron Colvin from Jaguars, who could see time on the outside if Kareem Jackson sucks again.
Andre Hal and Corey Moore proved themselves at FS and SS respectively, but why miss out on signing SS Tyrann Mathieu to a 1-year deal? The secondary adds two proven players and should fare slightly better should another marquee pass-rusher or two go down.
MAJOR DRAFT NEEDS: Get offensive lineman because something you get will be better than what you have. You’re also going to need some CBs reeeeeeaaaaaal soon. A good TE wouldn’t hurt either.
*The Texans have 4 draft picks this year, and the first one isn’t until the 3rd round.
In honor of Pete Prisco telling me I’m dumb and that I’ll fail, here’s this entry’s edition of “Prisco’s Pickanosis,” where I highlight something the Tom Brady of acting like an infant on Twitter was completely wrong about.
Kind of on a cold streak here for real hard-hitting, ignorance-exposing takes from Pricksco.