Every week, Pro Football Focus uses their algorithmic alchemy to generate scientifically accurate ratings for each player based on said player’s performance on game day. Those ratings are then matched against where the player ranks among their peers and then laid out in spreadsheet form for all the world to see (at least all the world that has access).
In Week One, the Houston Texans only had one player with an 80+ rating—left tackle Laremy Tunsil. The highest paid offensive lineman in all the land, thanks to head coach/general manager Bill O’Brien, dropped an 82.7 rated performance against Patrick Mahomes and the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. This was good enough to place Tunsil 4th out of the 66 tackles who took the field in opening weekend.
The rest of the offensive line rated out thusly:
- Max Sharping - 60.7 (41st out of 66)
- Nick Martin - 67.1 (11th out of 33)
- Zach Fulton - 76.4 (11th out of 66)
- Tytus Howard - 68.4 (30th out of 66)
That averages out to a total unit rating of 71.06, about average.
- Deshaun Watson scored a 71.9 rating, planting him 12th out of 32 QBs.
This is most likely due to the combination of offensive line achievement, or lack thereof, and the poor performance by Houston’s skill position players.
Of the running backs , wide receivers and tight ends, only David Johnson rated higher than 75, at 75.2. Will Fuller V landed at 73.5, Jordan Akins at 73.2, and Darren Fells at 71.8, all the way down to Randall Cobb (56.0) and Kenny Stills (38.5), who had the worst rating on the offense.
On the defensive side of the ball, life wasn’t much rosier. Newly signed defensive tackle P.J. Hall scored an 85.7, while no one else on the defense scored above a 70, except safety Eric Murray at 70.9.
Players the Houston Texans can normally count on were counted out:
- Bradley Roby - 52.4, 78th out of 100
- Justin Reid - 63.2, 33rd out of 79
- J.J. Watt - 58.9, 65th out of 103
Then there was the downright shockingly bad:
- Whitney Mercilus - 79.6, 86th out of 103
- Benardrick McKinney - 42.7, 53rd out of 70
- Zach Cunningham - 26.9, 70th out of 70 (worst rating on the entire team, not just among all middle linebackers)
Rookie John Reid scored the best in the defensive backfield with 56.5, 59th out of 100, while Vernon Hargreaves III continued to do Vernon Hargreaves things and scored a 39.6 (92nd out of 100).
A.J. Moore outscored all the other linebackers with a 60.6 rating, good enough for 24th out of 70.
While installing a whole new defense might take some time, especially in a year like 2020 where there was no preseason, defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver needs to get his unit up to speed now. That is a tall order, especially when the general manager didn’t see fit to bring him any answers for a roster that coughed up 85 points over the last seven quarters of play. For reference, the Baltimore Ravens defense only gave up 165 points IN AN ENTIRE SEASON in 2000.
With Lamar Jackson and the aforementioned Ravens coming to H-Town this weekend, featuring an offense that put more than 40 points on the board five times last season and was one field goal away from doing it again in Week 1, Weaver better bring his A game on Sunday if Houston doesn’t want to join the list of Baltimore opponents eating 40-burgers with a side order of shame.