Deshaun Watson may have only gotten one brief series in his official return to the NFL gridiron tonight, but there was still plenty of useful observations to come out of the Texans’ 17-10 win over the Kansas City Chiefs tonight. Here are just a few of the things that I noticed while watching Bill O’Brien’s new-look squad this evening:
The offensive line might improve after all
I don’t want to make any sweeping generalizations or predictions after just one quarter-ish of snaps, but the starting Texans offensive line acquitted itself well tonight both as run blockers and in pass protection. Lamar Miller was sprung free for a big run on Houston’s opening drive, and from the second series onward Brandon Weeden was fairly comfortable in the pocket with minimal pressure.
Julie’n Davenport in particular handled himself well, I felt. While his technique is by no means clean yet, his size and length really showed up in this game. Edge rushers struggled a lot to get around his massive frame, and as long as he keeps a wide base and anchors well against power rushers that get a leverage advantage on him he could end up being a surprisingly decent left tackle this season.
Do I expect Pro Bowl play out of this line as a whole? Absolutely not. But if they can just be average, this Texans offense could be very, very good.
The Houston front seven is nasty
J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus, and Jadeveon Clowney were all not on the field tonight, and yet the Houston pass rush was still very disruptive against the starting Chiefs offensive line. Pat Mahomes could never quite get comfortable in the pocket, and that led to multiple errant passes and throw aways. Once the three-headed monster of Watt, Mercilus, and Clowney all come back, that disruption will only increase. I very much look forward to watching what this unit can do on third and long this year, because it could be downright special.
Brandon Weeden is way, way better than Tom Savage
Say what you want about Brandon Weeden at this stage in his career – he’s not a franchise quarterback, and he never will be – but I’ll be damned if I don’t really like him as a backup in Bill O’Brien’s system. He looks infinitely more comfortable than Tom Savage ever did, and even though you can knock him for being a statue in the pocket and not being nearly as aggressive as Watson on deeper passing concepts, the guy can clearly steer the ship.
If Watson goes down for any period of time with another injury this season (knock on wood), I think this team can still win games with Weeden under center. They certainly won’t be as dynamic or productive as a unit overall, but they can still win, and that’s really all that matters in the end.
What are your own observations from tonight’s win, BRB? Did anything in particular excite and/or worry you? Sound off in the comments below.