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Red Zone Play: Running Backs or Defensive Line?

Houston Texans addressed the offensive line and secondary, but what about the rest?

Houston Texans v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

While the offensive line was clearly the biggest need for the Houston Texans coming into this offseason, and the secondary was also full of questions marks - especially after they let Kareem Jackson walk and Tyrann Mathieu signed with the Kansas City Chiefs - those weren’t the only two roster groups that needed an upgrade prior to Kickoff 2019.

Last week we discussed the running back corps, as did others. but it seems as if the Texans are once again ok standing pat with what they’ve scraped together, and already have in Lamar Miller and D’Onta Foreman.

The other area of need is the defensive line. Especially if they continue to let the Jadeveon Clowney scenario linger and Clowney either sits out, gets traded or otherwise fails to continue his path to battle red greatness.

While Houston did re-sign nose tackle Brandon Dunn, defensive ends Angelo Blackson, Joel Heath. They drafted Texas Longhorn edge rusher Charles Omenihu and managed to not lose tackle/end D.J. Reader, Carlos Watkins or smart-bomb J.J. Watt, other Omenihu, they didn’t do much to raise the waters in the talent pool.

Then, edge rusher/OLB Duke Ejiofor went down for the season, spotlighting how the injury bug can bite right into a team’s fortunes unexpectedly.

Last season, the Texans managed to score 43 sacks (while giving up 62), but Watt and Clowney contributed 25 of those between the two of them. Without J.J., the sack total drops to a paltry 27. Take out Clowney and it’s 18. and the NFL average was 39.

And, it seems not only did Houston have no interest, but the feeling was mutual when it came to Gerald McCoy, who signed with the Carolina Panthers. For curiosity’s sake, McCoy had 6 sacks last season, more than any Texan not named Clowney or Watt.

When healthy, Houston’s front seven - with Watt, Clowney, Whitney Mercilus, Benardrick McKinney and Zach Cunningham can be utterly lethal. Unfortunately, it seems lately if either Watt, Clowney or both are on the sidelines, the defense drops from potentially epic to average really quickly.

So, with a running game that’s seemingly reliant solely on a pro bowler in Lamar Miller, a guy trying to buck all the odds in D’Onta Foreman and a makeshift offensive line comprised of rookies and second stringers, it doesn’t appear the Texans front office has done enough to give Deshaun Watson a running reprieve this season.

If they don’t have Clowney for any portion of the season, or Watt/Mercilus go down with an injury, the defensive line’s impact will drop precipitously.

That brings us to the question of the week:

Which position group do you think still needs a talent infusion? The running backs? Defensive line? Or, are you totally satisfied with the current Houston Texans roster?


Which position group still needs a talent upgrade?

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    Running Backs
    (88 votes)
  • 44%
    Defensive Line
    (104 votes)
  • 7%
    Neither - having three Pro Bowlers in the two groups is more than enough for Super Bowl glory!
    (17 votes)
  • 11%
    Where can I get a Kool Aid refill?
    (27 votes)
236 votes total Vote Now

Now, if Houston would pay the man, it would go a long way to helping the d-line settle a bit, but even with him, 43 team sacks isn’t enough to embody the “defense wins championships” mantra.

And, just because Brett did such a good job on this:

There you go, let us know which way you’d go in the comments below. (maybe Houston should sign Dr. Suess to the front office...)