The other day I was making a roundabout around my office. I’ll walk a big loop, go to the bathroom, and return, just to freshen up and get the blood moving through my stagnant trunks. During this stroll, I got a whiff of something. It was something I hadn’t smelled since I was twenty years old. The coagulation of damp cardboard, half empty light beers, tables with swamps in the center of them, grass muddied with chunks, low end vodka chiefly consumed by only alcoholics and 17 year olds staining the floors. The smell wasn’t even really there. My brain just remembered the smell, and I thought I smelled this smell, so I did smell the smell, and ugh, did it smell.
The Houston Texans’ 2017 offensive line is going to be remembered the same way. It will be a funk that I’ll remember for no reason at all. Breno Giacomini started every snap of the 2017 season. Jeff Allen was weak and slow again, just like he was in 2016. Nick Martin was great. Xavier Su’a-Filo still failed to grab the chest at the second level and whiffed on pass blocks three times a game too many. Duane Brown was replaced by four different players—Chris Clark, Kendall Lamm, Jeff Allen, and Julie’n Davenport; Houston really should have just guaranteed Brown’s salary and apologized or done whatever it would have taken to salvage that relationship. And somehow, Tom Savage was the worst offensive lineman Houston had.
Months from now, years from now, I’ll get hit with a grotesque wedge of putrescent stink, malodorous and odorous, reminding me of the atrocities committed by the squadron of men who played offensive line for the Texans in 2017.
32. Houston Texans
Total pressures surrendered: 253
Best player: Nick Martin
Combinations used: 14
The Houston offensive line struggled all season long as Deshaun Watson and Tom Savage were the two most frequently pressured quarterbacks in the league, under pressure on 47.7 percent and 46.7 percent of their respective dropbacks. Furthermore, not only did the unit allow the most total pressures (253) by a wide margin, they also gave up the most sacks on the season with 35. The Texans signed right tackle Breno Giacomini prior to the season, however, he struggled in pass protection and allowed 81 total pressures on the season or 5.1 per game. Even the fact that Houston’s running backs averaged 1.59 yards before contact – more than the league average – did not compensate for the unit’s deficiencies in pass protection.
To fix this problem, Houston will reportedly sign former Buffalo Bills tackle Seantrel Henderson to a one-year deal. They are rumored to sign Zach Fulton to likely play left guard. They have been linked to Nate Solder. Nick Martin will still play center. Of course, Jeff Allen will be back to start at guard. Somehow, some way, they’ll figure out what to do at right tackle.
Regardless of how you feel about these players or possible deals, there’s no way the 2018 offensive line can be as bad as it was last year. The best part about finishing 32nd in the NFL is every decision is a step in the right direction.