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Houston Texans: Determining if it’s time to press the panic button

Nathan Jones

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The Houston Texans have lost two of their last three games after winning nine games in a row. Is it time to panic? Let’s take a look at how the team got to this point and what could be looming.

After going on a franchise record, nine-game winning streak, the Houston Texans have lost two games in three weeks.

The easiest explanation for the recent defeats is because of the injuries.

Running back Lamar Miller and rookie wide receiver Keke Coutee both missed Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles. These players are key to the Houston Texans’ offense.  Miller averages 70 rushing yards per game and Coutee adds approximately 48 yards per game; but most importantly, a 73.7 reception percentage, per Pro Football Focus.

The offensive line also has had its fair share of injuries.  It’s important to indicate that Senio Kelemete, has been dealing with knee injuries as well an illness.

Also, several players on the secondary are banged up. According to HoustonTexans.com’s injury report, Johnathan Joseph, Kareem Jackson, Andre Hal and even rookie Justin Reid are not fully healthy. The struggle in the NFL is to play late in the regular season, through the postseason with the injuries. The ability to overcome such a hurdle is the greatest strength a team can possess.

Houston Texans

Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

It would be hard to expect anything spectacular from the offense or defense when they are missing so many vital cogs.

I am not trying to say the team does not deserve blame. There is plenty of blame to go across the board.

The back end of the defense has not performed well. In their two losses, they have given up 399 passing yards to Andrew Luck and 471 passing yards against Nick Foles.

The defense is not holding their part with the team. In the nine-game winning streak, the defense allowed 17.9 points per game. In these last three games, they have allowed 26 points per game. That is an eight-point swing! If the offense were fully healthy and playing at the highest level, a defensive “meltdown” like this would be manageable. Sadly, the Houston Texans are not performing as great on offense.

Which leads me to the problems on the offense.

The running game is struggling mightily. This can be attributed to Alfred Blue not finding the rushing lanes; but frankly, he has not been given many chances from his offensive line.

When the Houston Texans win, they have a great passing attack coupled with a solid running game to balance their offense. Watson thrives off of the play action and the receivers are able to run down the field with double moves.

Without a strong running game, the offensive line is forced to pass-block, something they are not great at.  This puts Deshaun Watson in a tough position.

Which is an excellent segue to my last bit of hope…

Deshaun Watson.

Watson is proving that his rookie year was not a fluke. Over the last three weeks, he has averaged 300 passing yards per game, 8.49 yards per attempt and has added five touchdowns and no interceptions. Watson is putting the team on his back; but unfortunately, it has not been enough in two of the last three games.

A quarterback does not solve all problems, which can be seen across the league. Aaron Rodgers, for example, is a great quarterback but without a team, he will not make the playoffs.

However, a good quarterback masks many problems. Luckily, with Watson, the Texans should be at least in every game. At any moment Watson can make an explosive play, especially if wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins remains healthy. This Houston Texans’ team will need more momentum heading into the postseason.

So maybe it is not time to panic? Hopefully, the Texans can get some players healthy for the playoffs. And maybe, with fully-staffed roster, can they make a strong postseason push?  We’ll have to see.

What do you think? What are the main problems for the Houston Texans? How far can this team go in the playoffs? Feel free to comment below.

Interested in writing for Locked On Texans? Tweet us: @LockedOnTexans, Facebook: Locked On Texans or drop us a line at [email protected]

 

 

I’m a student at Texas A&M University, Class of 2022. I am a statistics major who enjoys talking about football as well as backpacking and hiking. I've come to like the Texans out of a pure respect for the franchise. The fan base is strong and players like J.J. Watt inspire me daily. Do not test my Madden NFL skills. Follow me on Twitter @natn03

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Houston Texans

Houston Texans: Rob and Brian’s final sign-off from Locked on Texans

Brian K. Patterson

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Houston Texans
Mandatory Credit: Brian K. Patterson

Brian and Robert say goodbye to Locked on Texans.  After 540 episodes, we bid a tearful farewell to Houston Texans faithful, reminisce about our tenure and share some final thoughts on the Houston Texans future.

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Houston Texans

Houston Texans: The best free agents to target in the 2019 off season

Joseph Esquivel-Murphy

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Houston Texans
Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Texans off season is here and there’s a lot of work to do to prep this team for 2019. Who are the top free agents that the team should go after? Let’s take a look at the players who would make an impact.

The Houston Texans were one of the NFL’s better success stories this season after starting the season 0-3. J.J. Watt returned as one of the league’s most dominant defensive players, while free agent signee Tyrann Mathieu was a playmaker at the safety position. Third-round pick Justin Reid was one of the league’s best rookies and a starter in the Texans’ secondary for years to come.

DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson maintained their solid connection from last year as the former was named to his second consecutive first team All-Pro. Despite being sacked a league high 62 times, Watson passed for 4,165 yards and 26 touchdowns as he led the Texans to a 11-5 record and the AFC South division title. Lamar Miller was only 27 yards from his third 1,000+ yard season, despite missing two games because of injuries.

While the offense did put up strong numbers, the offensive line was a liability throughout the season as Watson was constantly under pressure, while Miller and the rest of the Texan running backs had few running lanes. Right tackle Seantrel Henderson was signed to fix those problems but he broke his ankle in the season opener and did not play for the rest of the season. He is a free agent now and so is Kendall Lamm, the man who replaced Henderson on the offensive line.

Julie’n Davenport struggled at left tackle and Martinas Rankin has not shown enough to yet to be a contributor on the offensive line. While Jadeveon Clowney and Mathieu are both free agents who need to be brought back, improving the offensive line is the team’s biggest priority in the off season. The Texans need to address the offensive line in both free agency and the draft as the unit struggled to protect Watson.

In regard to bringing in help via free agency, Daryl Williams missed most of the 2018 season with a shoulder injury but he was a second team All-Pro in 2017 and is the top tackle available.

His value might not as high because of the shoulder injury but Williams is one of the league’s better tackles and the Texans need to get him in free agency to bolster their offensive line. Williams is a mauler that should help create running lanes for Miller, while keeping Watson upright in the pocket. If the Texans are unable to sign him, Ja’Wuan James and Roger Saffold are the next best offensive linemen available in free agency and both players should be targeted by the Texans.

An upgrade in the secondary is also needed as Shareece Wright struggled in coverage, while Kayvon Webster and Aaron Colvin battled to stay healthy. Kareem Jackson had a great year for the Texans but is another Texans’ free agent that has to be re-signed.

Ronald Darby and Lamarcus Joyner are the best players available in free agency that can cover receivers in the slot and both players should be targeted by Bill O’Brien.

The Texans need to address their own free agents first as Clowney, Mathieu and Jackson were all vital parts to the team’s success in 2018.

What do you think?  Feel free to comment in the section below.

Interested in writing for Locked On Texans?  Tweet us: @LockedOnTexans, Facebook: Locked On Texans or drop us a line at [email protected]

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Houston Texans

Houston Texans: Identifying the team’s most glaring weaknesses

Brian K. Patterson

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Houston Texans
Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

What are the Houston Texans biggest weaknesses going into the 2019 off season?  Rob and Brian bring on State of the Texans’ BigRon to discuss what needs to be done to fix a team that has tons of potential to be dominant.  What’s the best way to improve the offensive line?  Is Julién Davenport still worth developing and what should we expect to see in additional development?

How about the thought of shifting Greg Mancz to center and Nick Martin to guard?  The trio also discusses the future of Whitney Mercilus on the roster as well as certain defensive lineman not getting enough playing time.  What else?  Take a listen to find out more!

Subscribe to us daily on Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher, Tunein or the Google Podcast app.
Email [email protected] or call (903) 265-9629 for Questions or Comments.
Follow us on Twitter @LockedonTexans, @HSTPodcast @HouseofHouston & @LockedonNFLNet

 

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Houston Texans

Houston Texans: Le’Veon Bell and plethora of free agent running backs

Brian K. Patterson

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Houston Texans
Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

What’s the best way for the Houston Texans to fix the running backs position for the 2019 season?  They certainly can do better than bringing back Alfred Blue.  Rob and Brian talk about what the team needs to do and gives their top free agent running backs to help this offense flourish.  Is bringing in Le’Veon Bell a possibility?  Can the Houston Texans get the back they want in this season’s draft?

The duo discusses that plus gives their thoughts of Indianapolis Colts’ firing offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo and the interesting back story that likely factored into the move.  Plus, Gary Kubiak finds a new job in the NFL.   What else?  Take a listen to find out more!

Subscribe to us daily on Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher, Tunein or the Google Podcast app.
Email [email protected] or call (903) 265-9629 for Questions or Comments.
Follow us on Twitter @LockedonTexans, @HSTPodcast @HouseofHouston & @LockedonNFLNet

 

 

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