The Houston Texans are shallow at several positions. Most of all, the offensive line and cornerbacks are thinner than flatbread pizza.
One position that they will not have to worry about is wide receiver.
Nobody needs an explanation on DeAndre Hopkins. We all know what he brings to the table.
Will Fuller’s season ended with an ACL tear on a Thursday night home game against the Miami Dolphins in late October. Coach Bill O’Brien said Fuller was on a “good track” in his recovery process. Barring a major setback, we can expect the Desean Jackson clone to be ready for Week 1.
The key this season might be Keke Coutee.
Last we saw of the receiver from Texas Tech, he caught eleven balls with a touchdown in the Texans’ playoff loss to the Colts.
Coutee dealt with hamstring injuries through training camp and did not play in one preseason game. The issue lingered into the regular season. He was only able to play five total games including the playoffs.
To paraphrase, O’Brien stated that the injuries were a result of Coutee training for the combine and having a tough transition to football training.
Coutee is an undersized receiver, standing a mere 5 feet 11 inches and weighing about 180 pounds. He is an agile receiver who is a slot weapon. His skill set is that of a slightly larger Taylor Gabriel.
He is great for screen passes, dump-off passes, and running the end-around.
His value to this team will come by keeping the defense honest. Instead of dropping back in coverage, Coutee is shifty enough to draw the attention from linebackers or nickel corners. Teams will care more to cover the short-middle routes and the flats.
The second-year receiver can also be a nightmare against the blitz if used properly. O’Brien and offensive coordinator Tim Kelly will have to understand how to effectively utilize Coutee.
If Fuller comes back to full health, that means teams will have to drop a safety deep to prevent him from blowing the top off. Hopkins will take away the team’s most physical corner and he will see a lot of double coverage.
That puts Coutee in a position where he will see one-on-one matchups from the Patrick Robinsons and Desmond Kings of the world. Because of the personnel around him, he can earn a living from short routes and dump offs.
His quickness was on display last season in a small sample size. He showed his promise, and he should be fresh and ready to play in 2019.
It will now be up to O’Brien and Tim Kelly to properly scheme for his abilities.