Word leaked all over the internet the other day that Timmy Jernigan will in fact NOT join the Houston Texans So, the hole left behind by D.J. Reader’s departure still needs a wide body to fill it. Some might hope new defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver looks to rookie lineman Ross Blacklock, but as has been stated clearly by Bill O’Brien, 2020 isn’t the season Houston should be putting their eggs in a rookie basket.
The Texans are exploring other veteran free agent options after moving on from Tim Jernigan, according to a league source— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) June 3, 2020
As Texans wordsmith Aaron Wilson tweeted, Houston is indeed “exploring other veteran free agent options.” Of those, three come to mind:
As stated in the past, bringing in a player like Griffen could have a hugely positive impact on the productivity and availability of J.J. Watt.
Red Zone Play:
Having Griffen and Watt around to teach the younger players is also a priceless investment - the sort of thing savvy, wise GMs do. These are two men who elevate the guys around them. If Houston is serious about taking the next step in the quest for a Lombardi Trophy, the best foot forward is bringing in Griffen.
Just imagine Watt, Griffen, Whitney Mercilus, Blacklock, Benardrick McKinney, Zach Cunningham and a rotation of Jacob Martin, Dylan Cole, Jonathan Greenard, Duke Ejiofor and Charles Omenihu as the Texans’ front seven. That would certainly get opposing offensive coordinators to sit up and pay attention. It’d go a long way toward shortening the time Houston’s struggling secondary would have to keep a lid on the other team’s wide receivers.
While not as much of a game wrecker as Griffen, Damon “Snacks” Harrison would be a solid plug and play replacement for Reader. He’s a product of the Rex Ryan system (think modified ‘Buddy Ball’), a language Anthony Weaver speaks fluently, which would shorten the learning curve in a shortened offseason. Having a road block of a man like Harrison in the middle of the line would force plays to the edges, where Watt, Mercilus, and the rest of the Texans’ front seven could feast.
Snacks has gobbled up 393 combined tackles, 11 sacks, and 37 tackles for loss. A guy like that could flourish in a line group that includes J.J. Watt - the two would elevate each other, the same way Watt and Reader did.
From the “keep dreaming” file, we have the last #1 overall draft pick of the Houston Texans. He knows the system, clearly works well in it, can play inside, outside, hand in the dirt, or on his feet and wreck an opponent’s drive single-handedly. Of the three on this list, Clowney still has the most upside, the most left in the tank. Putting him in a position where he doesn’t have to start all over again on a brand-new-to-him team would give him a leg up as he looks to cash in as a free agent.
While there are a variety of other players still riding the couch, if Bill O’Brien is really committed to winning and doing it now, he won’t toss the defensive line equivalent of Eric Murray at this problem. Time will tell.
Who do you think the Texans end up signing? Put on your swami hat and prognosticate in the comments box.