There are some days where this job is tougher than others. Today is one of those days. Finding roses in a performance like Sunday’s can be challenging, but there are always silver linings in every cloud. As we have indicated all week, the 17-10 final score really didn’t indicate how thoroughly the Houston Texans were beaten down on Sunday.
However, there are always positives and PFF always strives to find those positives every week. So, we start with the top five Texans and move from there. You will start to see a theme when you see the top five guys and Sunday was no different. Notice what position groups they come from.
The Top Five
Laremy Tunsil— 84.8
Steven Nelson— 83.5
Brandin Cooks— 72.7
O.J. Howard— 72.5
Desmond King— 71.1
The Texans and Nick Caserio have built a good secondary. They spent most of their free agent and draft resources there, so at least they are getting something for their investment. Jalen Pitre had two tackles for a loss in addition to Nelson’s interception. If there is a silver lining then that’s where it’s at.
Tunsil has been here all season. He was much maligned coming into the season and there still are his detractors, but he is the fourth ranked tackle according to PFF and he has appeared in the top five nearly every week. Simply put, he very well could be the Texans only Pro Bowl player after the season.
Biggest Offensive Improvement— O.J. Howard
I break with some of my colleagues over the performance of Nick Caserio. To put it simply, he has drafted too well and added too many decent free agents to completely torch. Howard is one of those guys. He isn’t a Pro Bowl player and may not be a starter for most teams, but the Texans aren’t most teams. He is a good depth piece on a team lacking in quality depth.
Biggest Offensive Tumbler— Kenyon Green
This is two weeks in a row he has gotten on this list. PFF has their own magic formula, so I don’t know if this would be universally agreed upon. What we do know is that the running game and passing game weren’t working and constant penetration was one of the many reasons. Scott Quessenberry was a close second to appearing on this list, so you get the general idea.
Biggest Defensive Improvement— Ogbonnia Okoronkwo
Okoronkwo represents the kind of free agent this team should be signing. He was a good performer on a great team and they simply couldn’t fit him in for a second contract. He is a rotational player, but all of the defensive ends are. He put up great numbers for the Rams in terms of PFF grades in limited times and it looks like he’s beginning to hit his stride in Houston.
Biggest Defensive Tumbler— Roy Lopez
It’s hard to get mad at players like Roy Lopez and Kurt Hinish. One is a sixth rounder and the other is an undrafted free agent. You hope for depth and rotation players in those rounds. Maybe they can be key special teams performers. You don’t expect starters and you certainly don’t expect them to go out and stop a back like Derrick Henry. Lopez did get a sack, so it wasn’t all bad, but those defensive tackles were pushed around like sacks of potatoes.
The Mills Report
Officially, Davis Mills went from the 14th best quarterback to the 16th best quarterback in the league according to PFF. Again, I’m not sure what they are looking at. I suspect they are looking at the around of talent around him. Nico Collins was on the shelf, so it wasn’t like the run and shoot days out there. Still, Mills didn’t look like an average quarterback out there.
21 quarterbacks have started every game for their teams this year. If you combine rushing and passing (since MOST teams have quarterbacks that can do both) we could see where Mills ranks in total yards, touchdowns (rushing and passing), interceptions, yards per attempt, completion percentage, quarterback rating, and ESPN QBR. Keep in mind that Jacoby Brissett has started every game, but is really a backup. Here are the numbers for Mills with his ranking amongst those 21 quarterbacks in parentheses.
Total Yards: 1,512 (Dead Ass Last)
Total TDs: 8 (T-19th)
Interceptions: 6 (T-12th)
PCT: 63.1 (15th)
YPA: 6.4 (T-19th)
QBR: 81.9 (20th)
ESPN: 31.7 (DAL)
So, if we are keeping track, we see he finishes last in ESPN rating and total yards. He has one quarterback worse than him in total TDs, interceptions,, yards per attempt, and traditional QBR. I don’t know how that calculates to average, but maybe someone out there is smarter than me.
If we want to try this another way, we could look at statistical markers that a majority of quarterbacks on the list surpass and then see how far away Mills is from meeting those markers. Sometimes it might just take a good game or two, Sometimes there is no way he’s getting there. So, I am coming up with the round basic numbers with the number of quarterbacks that surpass those numbers in parentheses.
Total Yards: 2,000 (10)
Total TDs: 10 (14)
INT: 5 (11)
PCT: 65.0 (12)
YPA: 7.0 (11)
QBR: 90.0 (12)
ESPN: 50.0 (12)
At least half of the quarterbacks not counting Mills meet each of these markers. He doesn’t reach any of them and some of them he is not particularly close to. You can blame Pep Hamilton. You can blame Nick Caserio. You could blame Brandin Cooks. You could blame the offensive line. You can blame any or all of those things. They all play a role. Suffice it to say, he’s just not there.