Well, that one week of improved downfield passing and accuracy from Davis Mills didn’t last long! Even though last week’s loss to the Raiders was ugly on defense, it was the first game this season where the Houston Texans’ offense had some real balance to it. Rookie running back Dameon Pierce was still making plays, but now it appeared Davis Mills was finally complimenting him.
Against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, that supposed preview of improvement decayed into fool’s gold.
Davis Mills has a TT of 2.64 seconds (9th) with an ADoT of 7 yards (T-29th) and a CPoE of -4.3% (T-30th) this season. He also has 6 INTs, tied for 5th most in the league. pic.twitter.com/XA89wbOO0q— Shane Haff (@HAFFnHAFF_TPL) November 2, 2022
It’s easy to sling arrows at Davis Mills since he’s the biggest target with the longest neck, but gaining a game-total of 161 yards is a team effort in suckitude.
Here’s where everyone is rankings the Houston Texans entering Week 9:
32. Houston Texans (1-5-1)
Week 8 ranking: 32
Reason for optimism: Rookie class
Optimism may seem hard to find this season, but there is one factor: the 2022 draft class. The Texans rookie class yielded four starters in cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., left guard Kenyon Green, safety Jalen Pitre and running back Dameon Pierce. Quarterbacks have a 56% completion rate when Stingley is the nearest defender, and he has an interception; Green has started the majority of the season; Pitre has five tackles for loss, one sack and two interceptions; and Pierce leads all rookie running backs in rushing (539 yards) and ranks 12th in the league. — DJ Bien-Aime
32. Houston Texans (1-5-1)
Previous rank: No. 32
After a promising Week 7 showing that hinted at progress, the Texans’ offense cratered on Sunday against the Titans. Houston managed just 161 total yards in the 17-10 loss, with more than half of those yards coming on a final drive that produced a touchdown with 17 seconds to play. Davis Mills threw for just 17 yards in the first half, playing to a duel with Malik Willis, an overmatched rookie filling in for injured/ill Tennessee starter Ryan Tannehill. A quick rebound shouldn’t be expected: Up next is the undefeated Eagles on Thursday Night Football. Oof. - Dan Hanzus
PRO FOOTBALL TALK:
31. Texans (1-5-1; No. 31): Twenty years after joining the league, they feel like an expansion team all over again. - Mike Florio
32. Texans (32): Blessedly, Thursday – against undefeated Philadelphia – is Houston’s only prime-time appearance this season. The Texans haven’t won a night game since 2019. - Nate Davis
32. Houston Texans (1-5-1, last week: 32)
Texans fans were scouting college quarterbacks even before the season, and nothing has happened since to change that. Davis Mills is second to last in EPA per dropback and leads a Houston offense that ranks 31st in total yards per game even with rookie running back Dameon Pierce exceeding expectations. Defensively, the Texans rank 30th in yards allowed per play; only the Falcons and Lions rank lower. Losing enough games to secure the no. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL draft should be the team’s priority. - Austin Gayle
32. Houston Texans (1-5-1)
Last week: loss vs Tennessee, 17–10
Next week: vs. Philadelphia
Home sweet home in last place for the Texans, who, in a few weeks, will be America’s team when they take on the Cleveland Browns. Until then, friends. - Connor Orr
32. Texans (1-5-1)
They have real issues on offense. It’s looking like they will draft a quarterback next spring. Davis Mills doesn’t look like the answer. - Pete Prisco
32. Houston Texans (1-5-1)
Last Week: 32
Week 8 Result: Lost vs. Tennessee 17-10
The Houston Texans have hit rock bottom—again.
In a season filled with lows, the Texans found a new nadir Sunday against the Titans. Playing against a Tennessee team that attempted only 10 passes, the Texans were gashed for a whopping 314 yards on the ground. It was a pitiful defensive effort that left players and coaches alike shaking their heads.
“It’s unacceptable for us as a defense to give up that many yards,” linebacker Christian Kirksey told reporters after the game.
“We knew who we were playing,” head coach Lovie Smith said. “One of the best backs in the game. That physical brand of football, we weren’t ready to play that today.”
It wasn’t just the defense that let Houston down. The Texans offense managed only 161 yards in total. Rookie running back Dameon Pierce had no running lanes and averaged a pitiful 2.3 yards per carry. Second-year quarterback Davis Mills had just 152 passing yards and threw an interception.
All told, it served as a stark reminder that the Texans are the most talent-deficient team in the NFL. They badly need playmakers on both sides of the ball, and wins will be few and far between for them this year.
At least they don’t have to turn around and play the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles on a short week.
Oh, wait. They do. - Brent Sobleski, Maurice Moton, Gary Davenport
32. Houston Texans (Previous rank 31)
Dameon Pierce is a weekly starter, and you might have to use Brandin Cooks in a medium and deeper league, but that’s it. Davis Mills has fallen off in most key efficiency metrics. - Scott Pianowski
The Texans have sunk back to the bottom, again. This team has very little talent on the roster, and even what little talent we have is trying to leave:
Don’t take a man’s kindness for granted. Covered for the lies for too long those days are done. Crossed the line with playing with my career— Brandin Cooks (@brandincooks) November 1, 2022
Brandin Cooks wanting to leave the Texans isn’t surprising, but the circumstances and speed in which Houston came back to this thud heard when they hit #32 again certainly took me off guard. Even in DJ Bien-Aime’s report on the flailing Texans, he revolves it entirely around their great rookie class. We practically got two future starters on offense with guard Kenyon Green and running back Dameon Pierce, and two starters on defense with cornerback Derek Stingley, Jr. and safety Jalen Pitre. Heck, by next season, we could be saying we got three starters on each side if linebacker Christian Harris and wide receiver John Metchie III end up performing as exceptionally as they did in Alabama.
Getting four to six starters out of any draft class is a fantastic draft. With a sudden influx of talent like that getting added to a roster that already spent some money in the offseason to get Jerry Hughes, Mario Addison, and Christian Kirksey on defense and kept players like Brandin Cooks, Chris Moore, and Laremy Tunsil from previous years on offense, I don’t think it’s overzealous to have expected the Texans to be better than #32 midway through the season.
There was supposed to be something here. Something of a stable foundation to build off of through the future. Since 2020, the Texans have made several trades and acquisitions on the defensive line and at linebacker in attempts to improve the rushing defense, and they are still abysmal. In 2022, the Texans spent money and draft resources on filling the offense with more playmakers to give Davis Mills enough around him to really grow as a quarterback. So far, Davis Mills has been one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the NFL and the offense around him - besides Kenyon Green and Dameon Pierce - has been so sloppy and unreliable that you almost wonder how much fault does Davis Mills really deserve.
The two questions Nick Caserio has tried to answer - stopping the run and creating a good offense - since becoming the Texans’ general manager have yet to be answered. Now that some young stars are beginning to take shape, the pressure is now on to fix these issues fast. From now to kickoff in 2023, every decision the Texans will make will be significant motions to answer these questions. If they are not by then, another reset may be impending.
Tomorrow, the Texans get to a face a team that was able to successfully answer all of their greatest questions exiting the 2020 season: The Philadelphia Eagles. Comparing Nick Caserio to Howie Roseman might be a bit unfair, but the Eagles stand as an example that big problems facing an NFL roster can be solved within two years if proactive and progressive managing is met with a good foundation and coaching staff. Right now, the Texans are still working on obtaining one of these.
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