The Texans secondary has been a putrid sore since the 2018 season. Remember Shareece Wright? Remember when they held on because they played bad teams with bad quarterbacks, and their defense folded anytime they faced a capable passing attack? That was three years ago, and still, to this day, the Texans secondary is a weakness for this football team.
Johnathan Joseph recently retired. Aaron Colvin was injured for a season, and then lasted a single game the following season. Lonnie Johnson Jr. couldn’t play cornerback, and is now learning how to play safety. Bradley Roby is exactly what we thought he was—a competent cornerback who you want to be the third best corner on your team, not your best cornerback. Justin Reid plateaued, and hopefully this season he finds another level we have expected from him. Eric Murray plays a lot of positions but isn’t any good at any of them. This is the state of the Texans secondary, but now it has Terrance Mitchell and Desmond King. Good times. The media is trying to get you excited about Keon Crossen.
Pro Football Focus has been ranking every position group entering the 2021 NFL Season. When it comes to the secondary, they have the Texans ranked 24th, notched up from where they are expected to be.
24. Houston Texans
The cupboard isn’t completely bare for defensive coordinator Lovie Smith as he looks to implement his Tampa 2 defense in Houston next season. Justin Reid ranks in the 79th percentile of all safeties in coverage grade since he was drafted in 2018. Bradley Roby (71.5 PFF grade in 2020) and Desmond King II (67.0 PFF grade in 2020) have both provided solid play over the past few seasons at cornerback, as well.
The second outside cornerback spot will likely be an issue for Houston. Vernon Hargreaves III, who started there last season, has earned PFF grades below 50.0 in each of the past two seasons. He’ll likely compete with Terrance Mitchell for that job once Roby returns from suspension in Week 2.
Houston will have a problem week one without Roby as he finishes his suspension. King is great at everything except for playing man coverage in the slot at his position. The hope is that Lovie Smith’s scheme will take pressure off the secondary needing to do the more difficult aspects of the position, and a zone heavy scheme will help them out. This could work, in theory, but the pass rush and linebacker play makes this seem like a summer dream, not fall reality.
The Texans secondary has been a problem for years, and it will be again this year.