Obviously, there aren’t a lot of positives that came from this past Sunday’s game with the Houston Texans losing 27-14. However, there are always positives we can take from every football game. For the remainder of the year, we will take a look at who should stay and who should go by using PFF scores. Officially, 60.0 is listed as average, but it is probably closer to replacement level in baseball. 70.0 is usually the grade you want for a solid starter.
The Top Five
Jalen Pitre— 88.9
Mario Addison— 88.5
Tavierre Thomas— 81.5
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo— 73.8
Dameon Pierce— 73.4
The biggest name here is the name on top. Pitre led the team in tackles and actually caught a ball that was thrown to him. That’s three interceptions on the season. With the number of drops he has had it could have been five or six. However, the name of the game is improvement. We will get to Pitre a little later.
Thomas is a new name to the list as well, but he made it here a few times last season. He is a solid inside corner and likely will have a place in this secondary again next season. Pierce and Okoronkwo have been here before and likely will be again. They will be keepers for next season.
Offensive Keeper— Nico Collins (72.4)
Keep in mind what we said about PFF grades. Collins rates as a solid starter. He will likely never be more than a number two receiver, but he scored another touchdown on Sunday to give him 37 catches, 481 yards, and two touchdowns. Keep in mind he missed a couple of games due to injury. If we prorate those numbers out he will end up with over 50 catches and 700 yards, He might get to three or four touchdowns. With the group of quarterbacks we have throwing the ball, those are pretty solid numbers.
Offensive Chaff— Brandin Cooks (68.3)
The PFF grade isn’t the problem. Even his numbers (which have taken a dip) are not the problem. He is the problem. Listen, I get it. Professional athletes have a short life expectancy in terms of a career and in many cases their actual lives. Cooks might have a couple of good years left. He doesn’t want to be here for this. I don’t blame him. Still, you can tell he’s done. The public comments he has been making are probably very accurate, but inexcusable. What’s more, he’s missed two games and the team has shown more life in those two games than they have since the Jacksonville win. That can’t be a coincidence.
Defensive Keeper— Jalen Pitre (47.8)
Ignore the season number for a second. He raised it five points in one week. That is nearly unheard of this time of year. He showed what he is capable of against Cleveland. He can be a ball hawk and sure tackler at safety. That combination can get you to a lot of Pro Bowls. The key for all rookies is that you want to be playing your best football at the end of the season. You want to feel like you are on track to make a big jump in year two. Sunday was a very good start for Pitre.
Defensive Chaff— Kurt Hinish (53.0)
I can’t trash Hinish. He’s an undrafted free agent and he’s giving you everything he’s got. It’s a minor miracle for an undrafted free agent to be a rotational player. Why is he a rotational player? There’s literally no one else to do it. Roy Lopez has not been good either, but he is better than Hinish and he showed some promise last season. This team needs run stoppers in the worst way and they just don’t have them.
The question will be asked: should the Texans give Davis Mills his starting job back? I ask a different question: does it really matter? The worst regular quarterback in football (37th) has a 48.8 grade. That includes the likes of Baker Mayfield (who has been waived) and Zach Wilson (who has been benched). Kyle Allen is sitting with a 27.0 grade. To say he is dead-ass last (DAL) doesn’t give DAL any justice. Mills strolls in at a 63.3 which makes him a replacement level quarterback. In other words, he is a solid backup. So, play whoever you want at quarterback. Give us the Jeff Driscoll experience if you it really knocks you out. It really doesn’t matter.