FanPost

Kevin Walter Concerns



This isn't meant to be a rain-on-everyone's-parade post, but I must comment on the biggest setback the Texans suffered in an otherwise thoroughly satisfying f**kstomp of our divisional friend. The first thing I have to say about Walter is that I'm not at all sure how serious his injury is. Many sources say he'll miss most of the season, but others contend that he's going to have additional exams and the extent of the wound is unknown. Now, a few weeks without the KW are quite survivable, but how about 10-12 weeks without everyone's favorite "not good enough #2" #2 receiver?

The second thing I have to say about Walter is that for this offense he is ABSOLUTELY VITAL (I'll try not to take too much time here, as real fans know all of this already). People who complain about his low catch numbers ignore the fact that he is by far one of the best blocking wideouts in the league. Nearly every running play, every bootleg targeting #80, depends on Walter blocking his DB, drawing attention away from Andre, or cleaning up trash not fooled by the play-action, which usually involves blocking or cutting linebackers, something many WRs can't do. And, if you haven't noticed yet, the passing game isn't exactly focused on getting the ball to Kevin Walter, seeing as we have #80 there to grab most of the scripted passes. Not enough to convince those "we need a true #2" types? See Texans vs. Packers 2008, Texans vs. Redskins 2010, and barely a dropped pass in between. In short, the man can catch, and he can do a damn lot more than that, so let's guess at what's going to happen in his absence.

Thankfully, Jacoby Jones played well today, even without the spectacular punt return. His performance showed why Kubiak and Co. were eager to resign him in the offseason. Whatever his faults, Jones is a good sized receiver and a willing blocker; today he blocked hard in relief of Walter, in addition to making a handful of good catches. So Jakespeare as the #2 doesn't worry me; what does is that we are now down to just two good, experienced, Kubiak-type wide receivers, Kubiak-type meaning both capable of catching and blocking in great amounts. The coaching staff must now seriously consider how much faith can be place in Bryant Johnson, and who can be picked up and added to the roster in Walter's place. The most obvious answer to the second question is David Anderson. He's no Kevin Walter replacement, but he's intimately familiar with the system and damn can he catch on 3rd down.

Those clamoring for Maehl to be activated are ignoring the fact that he has a deficit of bulk and blocking ability, which is what got him on the practice squad rather than the real squad. He can't do all what Walter did, and he's rather a liability on special teams; more than likely his orders on the practice squad were to lift weights like hell and work on blocking. His catching ability was never in doubt, it's just that for an offense like this one, it's hard to justify keeping a one-dimensional player that hurts the running game when he's in and is thus only useful in crunch-time 4-WR set situations. Promoting him now won't solve much, but I must admit that bringing in a young guy with potential is far more attractive than signing some broken-down free agent.

Ultimately, we do have something to worry about with Walter sitting out a portion of the season, if the dire rumours prove true. We like to call James Casey our human swiss army knife, but that name is in fact an apt description of almost all of our offensive skill players, KW prominent among them. His versatility will be hard to replace, and though the tight ends might be able to make up for the loss in blocking power, the duo of Jones and Johnson will undoubtedly be worked all the harder, and the offense may have to lean on the other Johnson at times, which is hardly a cheery thought. All we can do as fans of course is to wait and see what happens next.

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