It takes a lot of squinting, a visit to the cross eyed optometrist, and a 14 gauge jab of hopium to find something good to say about the 2021 Houston Texans. Maybe a real offensive line coach will improve a unit with draft picks piled up into it. The defense should force more turnovers. Desmond King should thrive in Love Smith’s defense. This is Kahale Warring’s and Keke Coutee’s year. It’s a lot of hopes and wishes.
One of the few things the Texans have is good tackle play. Laremy Tunsil is one of the five best pass protecting left tackles in the game, and it takes a year to travel around the star known as Tytus Howard. Houston didn’t have the same troubles on the edges as they’ve had in previous seasons, even if the run blocking was abysmal at both spots.
ESPN recently projected the NFL’s offensive lines by pass block win rate. They had the Texans ranked tenth, along with their projected offensive line, which doesn’t include Marcus Cannon on it and Howard still at right tackle. They had the following to say:
The Texans look destined for a losing season, but offensive line is one of the stronger units on this roster. You’d hope so, after they mortgaged the future a few years back by trading multiple first-round picks for Tunsil. He and Howard produced higher win rates in 2019 than 2020, and the model takes both seasons into account.
Everyone should pray for Howard to stay at right tackle, I’d expect him to along with the the good run blocking Cannon to start at right guard. Taylor could jump into a starting spot, but it would probably be over Max Scharping, who was horrendous last season. There has also been talk of Scharping moving to center to compete with Justin Britt.
Regardless of how the combination comes together, Houston could, and should have one of the better pass protecting offensive lines in the NFL this season.