Do you recall that out of body experience where you’re about to hand in this semester’s progress report to your parents and can already imagine the visceral reaction they’re going to have? Yeah, that’s about the same sentiment the Houston Texans have while submitting their progress report through four weeks of the season.
My dad’s line was “we need this to improve”. It was always in the plural. It wasn’t me, it was we. Which actually, made it a helluva lot worse.
As Houston Texans fans, we feel responsible for the misfortune befallen upon our team. It’s personal because we’re invested, especially those who have stuck around for the past three to five seasons.
Davis Mills isn’t playing with a full deck of cards. His pass catching options are bottom 10 in the league. His offensive line are incapable of sustaining a drive and love to squander a big moment. Every now and then he shows flashes of Kirk Cousins, who I’ve always said was Mills ceiling. In each game this season he’s had drives where he operated the offense to perfection. Unfortunately, those drives are happenstance and don’t last an entire game. He’s 19th in pass yards, has a QBR worse than Daniel Jones, and has thrown an interception on 2.8% of his passes.
Running Back: C
The Texans run game is like chewing gum as a part of your diet. It truly doesn’t satisfy. Outside of Dameon Pierce’s gorgeous 75-yard touchdown on Sunday, the Texans yards-per-carry are 3.8. Pierce has started slower than his fantasy stock drove him up, which is to be expected from a rookie RB regardless of the situation. The concern has been with his backups; Rex Burkhead cannot carry the football it’s so irresponsible. Plus, when the Texans cut Marlon Mack they vanquished all of the depth at the position. The offensive line doesn’t help, but improved talent through mid-season free agency would be beneficial.
Tight End: B+
No Ferris Bueller didn’t hack into this article and improve the grade. The signing of OJ Howard and re-signing of Jordan Akins were the two best moves of the preseason. Howard’s tumultuous career has been a steady fall since his rookie season, but in week 1 against the Indianapolis Colts he bounced back and recorded two touchdowns on two receptions, just one week after being signed by the Texans. Brevin Jordan has quickly not lived up to the hype and called to TE4 on the depth chart after missing two weeks with an ankle injury. The rookie Teagan Quitoriano has been on IR all season. Pharaoh Brown has also missed time with an injury. This patchwork group of players still has impressed and been a nicety, but needs to get healthy quickly for this team to turn things around.
Wide Receiver: C+
Losing John Metchie III truly hurts this group. He’d been a fantastic WR3 and compliment to the offensive scheme. Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins are both being held to under 60 yards per game. Cooks has a single touchdown so far and is seeing double coverage throughout the game. Nico Collins certainly knows how to catch the ball, but has been unable to get open in the redzone, where he’s needed the most.
A prevailing question heading into the season was who would step up to be the WR3? We didn’t have an answer then and we don’t have one now. Chris Moore assumes the role as the de facto ‘best of the rest’. This group could really use a spark.
Offensive Line: B-
The Texans need to trade Laremy Tunsil. He is the most over rated player in Texans’ history, worse than Ed Reed. Against both the Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Chargers I outright accused him of letting Mills get sacked. There are missed assignments not worthy of a professional left tackle. The interior of the offensive line is not fixed. Did you even know Scott Quessenbury is our center? He’s started the last three games and I bet you didn’t know who he is. Rookie Kenyon Green shows upside, but still has a long way to go. Here’s a great breakdown of his game against the Chicago Bears. Tytus Howard has been an fine pass blocker, but his inability to run block is causing systematic issues for the Texans. If they can actually learn to play-in-play-out run the ball the Texans could turn this season around.