Seantrel Henderson is the only tackle the Texans have added to their roster up to this point in the offseason. Seantrel Henderson hasn’t really played football since 2015. Even when he played, Seantrel Henderson was a mess.
Henderson was a seventh round pick out of Miami after being a top high school recruit. Failed marijuana tests stuttered and stopped most of his time in college. It didn’t affect him after he was drafted. Instantly, Henderson became the Buffalo Bills’ starting right tackle. He played 1,062 snaps and started all sixteen games in 2014. In those games, he had four penalties, gave up 7.5 sacks. He was charted to have surrendered 29.5 blown pass blocks and 6.0 blown run blocks. The next year Henderson started only ten games and played 593 snaps. That season, he was called for seven penalties. He was charted with seven blown pass blocks and two blown run blocks; the numbers are weird that year for Football Outsiders because of a change in their charting process.
Henderson has only played a total of 53 offensive snaps the last two seasons. Last year he played 19 and took some shots as a sixth offensive lineman. The year before, he played 34.
Henderson been on the shelf watching instead of playing. Crohn’s Disease ended his 2015 season. He failed to earn his job back, but when he was playing, the Bills were battling to run an offense in part because of Henderson’s constant struggles. To see him struggle, you have to hop into a little pod, insert diamonds into the fuel port, and turn the dial all the way back to 2015. Poof. When you walk out, Henderson is again the starter.
Wait, what’s that? You went to December 2015? You didn’t go far enough. Hop back in. Pull in and pull out. There he is. Henderson is out on the field.
There are two main attributes Henderson boasts. The first is his size. Henderson is a wonder of the world. He’s 6’7” and 338 pounds. There’s a lot of him. The second is his kick-slide. Henderson is a natural kick-slider. Even against wide ‘9’ defensive ends, he can slide over and meet the defender at the point of the attack. The gate stays closed. He meets players head on.
Here he’s up against Calvin Pace. The former first round draft pick from the 2003 class isn’t what he once was (and he never really was, if you know what I mean). Regardless, Pace is lined up as a ‘9’ technique. The tight end goes out to run a route. Henderson kick-slides over.
Henderson moves naturally in an unnatural way. This is a galloping pass set. When contact is made, he’s square and head up with Pace. Great stuff.
There’s something very important missing in this block, and it’s missing in all of Henderson’s blocks. It’s punch. It’s nonexistent. Henderson throws a feather into a bathroom trash bin. After contact is made, Pace is able to grab Henderson’s arm, lift him off his chest, and drive him backwards. It’s inconsequential to the end design of the play, but when blocking for a mobile quarterback like Tyrod Taylor, this is unacceptable. It limits the ability of Taylor to hold onto the ball and make plays happen. It closes off space for him to scamper through. With Henderson’s position here, this rush should end at the point of attack.
The other problem with Henderson’s punch is that the lack of oomph, or lack of anything at all, is obliterated by pass rushers who are actually capable of terrorizing the quarterback. Just because you’re small doesn’t mean you aren’t tough. Just because you’re fat doesn’t mean you’re the one who farted. Just because you’re big doesn’t mean you’re strong. Henderson is monstrous in size, but his size doesn’t have physical strength on the football field.
Weak and floppy arms derailed Henderson against Kansas City. Think all the way back to 2015. Tamba Hali was really good. He had 24.5 pressures, 12 quarterback hits, and 6.5 sacks. I’m sure at least five of those pressures came in this game against Seantrel Henderson. Even against a capable pass rusher like Hali, Henderson was able to meet him at the point of attack. What Henderson wasn’t able to do was keep Hali off the quarterback. Hali slapped Henderson’s punch away, ripped around the massive lad, and laid into Tyrod Taylor consistently.
Nothing changed. It was just the same move over and over again from the first quarter on that Henderson couldn’t stop. Sometimes it ended with a late quarterback hit; sometimes it ended in a Code Red strip sack.
This play is especially egregious. Henderson dips his head when he punches. This leads to him hitting the inside half of Hali. Despite being even with him before contact, Hali has an outside path to the quarterback. This is a handout. Additionally, the dip of Henderson’s head to bring more power to his punch doesn’t do any extra stifling. Hali laughs at it and knocks it away, rips around, gets flat, and surprises Taylor.
It’s a shame, too. This is such a pretty kick-slide. It’s smooth and natural. It makes me feel things. This is another spectacular pass set that’s again rotted. Henderson punches the inside half rather than the chest. He readjusts by placing his hands on Hali instead of bringing any sort of violence. The block is finished with a “Whatever, Mom” push as Taylor is forced to jet-ski away from the sharks in the water.
Same thing here. Except this time, Henderson is up against Derrick Morgan. A perfect kick-slide and leap out of his stance gets Henderson all over Morgan. But he punches too soon and he comes a little too flat. All Henderson is able to do is touch the inside half of Morgan.
There’s another problem this poor punch creates. It allows defenders to counter the set and go inside. Since Henderson can’t smash the defender with his hands to paralyze the rusher, the defender is able to plant, come inside, and run through the turnstile. These rushes usually didn’t end with sacks. Henderson wouldn’t allow them to run completely free. He’d wrap up and hold on to ensure Taylor at least had a chance to get away. The ref has to throw the flag. He can’t see everything. There’s a chance of getting away with it. Not with sacks, though. Sacks are absolute.
Henderson is a master of the hold. Sometimes it’s a shove in the back.
Sometimes Henderson raises his arms up to feign innocence.
1. Be very big.
These are the only two things Henderson does well. The rest of it is abysmal. Just about every other part of offensive line play is missing here.
This is an outside zone play away from him. Henderson’s first step isn’t deep enough. Despite his ability to kick-slide, his feet don’t move as well in the run game. He’s beaten off the ball at the line of scrimmage. Henderson is unable to cut off the defensive end.
He can’t block the second level at all. I think I saw him block the second level one time. See below. This is the singular standalone example.
Every other time looked close to this. Henderson was decent at being the hammer on strong inside zone double teams. He could make the first level move. His plague was the angle. Vertical departures would allow the linebacker to dip underneath him and chase down the running back.
Here, the linebacker Henderson is supposed to block runs around him and gets too deep into the backfield, but He’s still able to turn back around and splatter the back from behind.
This is a good ‘deuce’ block at the first level between Henderson and the right guard. The defensive tackle steps right into the metal toothed trap laying on the floor and comes directly into the center of these two men. Henderson is aggressive. He brings it. Yet he gets so wrapped up in taking down the defensive tackle that he doesn’t even see the linebacker he’s supposed to block. The cutback lane is ruined by the free linebacker. Henderson is on the ground when Anthony Dixon gets tackled by three defenders.
Of course Henderson struggles with individual blocks as well. This is an inside zone play with the backside tight end pulling to seal the free edge player. Henderson has Jurrell Casey all on his own. His first step is good. He doesn’t bring anything with his punch, though. Henderson simply leans over and into Casey rather than maul him at the point of attack as he’s supposed to. Casey throws him wide like an Anchorman burrito and is able to get an arm on the back.
Henderson is fine as a one-year, let’s see if there’s anything with this guy signing. His size and ability to kick-slide make him an intriguing player no matter how terrible he is at everything else. He’s a relief pitcher that throws 100 mph into the net.
Henderson’s play isn’t horrific on its own. The big picture is what’s petrifying. This is it. The Texans currently don’t have another real right tackle on the roster. Henderson is the starter barring a Jeff Allen switch or David Quessenberry being more than a great story.
In the 2018 NFL Draft, the Texans have to address the tackle position as soon as they finally get the chance to pick, whenever that may be. Once the draft is over, the Texans need to add another tackle in free agency. Brian Gaine must add additional talent to this part of the roster. Houston can’t feel comfortable with Julie’n Davenport and Henderson as the starting tackles when training camp begins.
That combination is a disaster waiting to happen. It won’t be a Kendall Lamm+Tom Savage sized catastrophe, but it will be close. I like Davenport. He held his own last year at left tackle; he should get first dibs, but he needs to get stronger. Who knows if this will happen? Who knows what he’s up to? Henderson is a wreck Houston is trying to salvage, and he hasn’t played in two years. Nothing should be expected from him whatsoever.
The start of the 2018 season is still a long ways away. Before these days wash away, the Texans must upgrade the tackle position. Seantrel Henderson isn’t enough.