The Houston Texans have four games left this season. At 4-8, the NFL Playoffs are an impossibility, just as they were when the Texans were 0-4. The season is over and has been over. There’s nothing left to do but watch our favorite football team before they pack their bags and disappear until next year. With that being said, there are still multiple things that can be jumping off points for next season. For this week’s GroupThink, I asked the masthead the following question:
With four games left in the season, aside from Deshaun Watson, which player are you most excited to watch as Houston tries to uncover bright spots for the 2021 season?
These were our responses.
I love everything about Kahale Warring. His smile, his biceps, his stomach, the #81, the little half sleeve he wears on his left arm, the big mouth piece he chooses to wear, the speed he gallops off the line of scrimmage with, and his potential as a player.
Going back to the 2019 NFL Draft I loved Kahale as a prospect. For a Texans team that lacked athleticism at the position to stretch the seam, or competent blocking whatsoever, he looked like a slam dunk pick.
Then he arrived in Houston. Bill O’Brien placed him on injured reserve for being too hot and too cool and making O’Brien’s heart flutter in a rage of jealousy and lust he couldn’t deal with. Kahale was too much of a CHAD for a franchise who was locked in missionary position rigor mortis. Who needs to learn the playbook? There’s a life to live. There are shots to take, frozen pizzas to make, and direct messages to send. Hoss-Y-Juke, yeah right.
He didn’t play a snap last year. He was active week one against Kansas City and didn’t play a snap. He was activated for the Detroit game and played four snaps and dropped one pass. He was active last week against Indianapolis and played six snaps and was targeted once. Here’s every snap from last week.
Kahale Warring played six snaps, was targeted once, and stole all of our hearts against Indianapolis last week— Matt Weston (@Matt__Weston) December 9, 2020
The sleeves are ripped off my shirt. The Heaven Hill is on ice. Keystone light is in the beer bong. The oven is preheating. The uber is outside. I got everything ready to go for when Kahale makes his first reception. We aren’t there yet, but we are getting closer, and closer.
Kahale provides the size to block at the NFL level, and the athleticism to be spread out as a wide receiver, and stretch the seam at the tight end position, something Houston has had only in spurts with Jordan Akins. We know what Akins is. He’s a dynamic receiver, but he’s a receiver only, he can’t block. Kahale has the potential to be an all around tight end. He just needs more than snaps a game. He needs a shot.
Sit Darren Fells. Place Pharoah Brown on injured reserve. It should be time for Akins, and most importantly, Kahale, to turn the Texans into the teXXXans and take over their tight end depth chart.
Once this season took the path of the road to nowhere, I wanted to see how our young players, especially the 3 defensive rookies, would perform. That has not changed. Come what may for the new regime, Ross Blacklock, Jonathan Greenard and John Reid will have to play a major role in the new defense, given the cap and draft constraints for the Texans. While none of these three will merit much ROY discussion, the need to get out on the field and show the franchise their potential and capabilities. Given the generally abysmal performance of our defense this season, there is little reason not to let the kids play. They have shown some flashes in recent games, particularly Blacklock and Greenard. That must continue.
I’d like to see is Kahale Warring. That’s right Matt, I do want to see him. For all the abhorrence I’ve displayed towards Warring the past few years, I’d like to see what he can put together against a fledgling defense in a game with no stakes. A simple contest where we can give him two or three plays designed for his success. Not only that, if they can integrate him into the run blocking, that could be great to see and dissect where his progress has and has not been made.
The specter of Watt leaving Houston in the off-season is still hanging over everything like a roster grim reaper. Before J.J. (potentially) leaves Houston for good, I’d love to see a statement game that bookends his time here. Something with a few sacks, highlight real passes defensed and another pick-6. Sure he isn’t the player he was a few years ago, and sure the talent around him often appears to be below NCAA standards, but J.J. can still turn a game on a dime and be the Destroyer of Worlds for an opposing offense. With the Chicago Bears and Cincinnati Bengals still on the schedule, it could happen. In fact, what better bookend than Watt once again utterly annihilating the Bengals’ hopes and dreams?
I say, let’s have Watt spear 2020 the way he did the Bengals center in 2017.
I’m most excited to watch Brent Qvale prove everyone wrong about Mike Devlin. JK.
I’d have to say that I’m excited to watch Keke Coutee. I didn’t get a win for my birthday game last week, but Coutee having a 100 yard game sufficed. He is an explosive player, albeit a little loosey-goosey with the football. Since he burned down the doghouse after BOB’s firing, he’s slowly coming out of his shell. With Will Fuller unavailable for the rest of the season, I think that Coutee should take in a larger share of snaps.
I will be watching Keke Coutee with unbridled excitement. I’ve been so bullish on him while also realizing we will never know exactly what his off-field issues were, so there may have been some (SOME) merit in his long doghouse tenancy. He also rightfully lost some playing time for on-field mistakes, but it’s been nothing that he can’t improve just by accruing game experience, or from receiving (heh) coherent coaching. The thing that most excites me about Coutee’s performance against the Colts is that he wasn’t even really being schemed into open space! Just imagine what this guy can do if they specifically gameplan to his strengths. That may be tougher now without Will Fuller V, who would command double-teams, but now that Coutee has been thrust into a prominent role because of circumstance, I feel like he will shine as long as Deshaun Watson is his QB.