The NFL regular season is getting closer and closer every day. With this, we decided to sit down with Football Outsiders (and BRB’s own) Rivers McCown for a Q&A on how he sees some of the biggest Texans issues playing out over the course of the season.
BRB: Do you think that Bill O’Brien will go into the season opener with Tom Savage as his starting quarterback?
FO: I would hold off on making a real prediction until I see how Savage and Deshaun Watson perform in the preseason. I don’t think Savage is long for the job either way, though. Between his injury history and his performance, I think the only real argument you can make for Savage is that benching Watson will be good for Watson’s development. And I don’t expect Savage to make it 16 games healthy, much less eight or four or whatever.
BRB: What kind of performance should the Texans expect out of sophomore receivers Will Fuller and Braxton Miller?
FO: What you saw is what you’ll get with Fuller, Ted Ginn’s spiritual successor. The deep passing game is wide open, and Fuller will be in position to go get balls. He just has concentration drops as a major issue and that is a part of his skill set.
Miller is what we’d term a high-risk prospect. Athletically he ticks every box you’d want in a wide receiver, but the conceptual prowess at the position last year was poor. My guess is you’ll either look back at this paragraph and laugh after he torches the league this season, or we’ll never hear from him again.
BRB: With the loss of A.J. Bouye this offseason, which one of the Texans’ cornerbacks is most likely to replace Bouye as the team’s top corner?
FO: Johnathan Joseph, given that he checked most No. 1s last year anyway. If you mean “which cornerback is most likely to play as well as Bouye last year,” I don’t know that this player is on the roster. I would guess that Kevin Johnson would have the best rate stats in coverage, assuming he stays healthy.
BRB: What is one strength and one weakness the Texans have that not many people are talking about?
FO: “Nobody” is a weird turn of phrase these days, given the fact that we as an industry breathlessly cover training camp stats. I think Nick Martin was a much better prospect than people gave him credit for, and I would not at all be surprised if he turned the interior of the Texans’ offensive line into a net positive.
I don’t think Houston’s safety corps has any chance of being better than average, and I think it’s much more likely a situation where instead of “corps,” you’ll spell it “corpse.”
BRB: What’s more likely, the Texans’ offense ranking last in offensive DVOA or the Texans’ defense ranking first in DVOA?
FO: This is a cool hypothetical. I think I’d go with the defense. Houston did all they did last season without the real J.J. Watt. Imagine that he’s 2015 J.J. Watt again. That’s … terrifying. As steadfastly bad as the Houston offense has been, it’s never been close to dead last in DVOA.
Quite a lot to digest from Rivers there. What do you make of it? Do you think Football Outsiders is on the money with their analysis here or do you disagree with any of it?