clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Texans Defensive Line Must ‘Spook’ Rookie QB Bryce Young

The front line has come back to life like Count Dracula

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Houston Texans Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Sacking the QB is an art. Like all art, it’s objectively subjective. If that inherently confused you and your feeble mind, good. That’s what art, and sack stats are meant to do.

On its face, Houston is the worst team in the league in sacks. With only nine sacks through six games, it’s easy to exclaim and fuss about the lack of productivity and what that means on an individual level for the players. Will Anderson Jr. pick was a bust, we’re wasting our time with Jonathan Greenard, and Sheldon Rankins was too expensive.... It could go on an on.

But that’s not the story based on the stats brought to you by ESPN:

NOTE: PRWR is Pass Rush Win Rate

This story is different. It tells the tale of Will Anderson Jr. as a potential Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate. The second overall pick being double teamed at a rate not too dissimilar from Micah Parsons, Myles Garrett, and Nick Bosa. It informs you that Jonathan Greenard has been extremely efficient when rushing the passer. It lets you in on a bit of a secret: Houston has one of the best interior line pass duos in the league between Maliek Collins and Sheldon Rankins.

Scary stuff right? ‘Tis the season.

This ‘vaunted’ Houston Texans defense faces the winless Carolina Panthers on Sunday. The Panthers ranked 19th in ESPN’s Pass Blocking Win Rate. Not the best, but certainly not the worst given their 0-6 record.

While Young made a name for himself at Alabama evading pass rushers and making off-platform throws, it hasn’t materialized yet in the NFL. The athletes at the next level are just that: next level. Too many times this year the Panthers have struggled on third down.

According to ESPN’s splits stats on Bryce Young, the QB has taken nine of his 16 sacks on third down and has by far the worst completion percentage. It’s also when Young attempts to rush the ball too as he’s run four of his eight attempts on third down. Getting to Young early and often is important, but shaking the rookie on third down appears to be the best way to win.

The Panthers offense is in too early of a stage to consistently emerge from mistakes and third-and-longs. They have a below-average set of receivers, an injured offensive line, mediocre TE play, and an injured starting RB. Not a strong set of ingredients for Young to work with. That’s why getting after Young, forcing turnovers, and haunting the rookie will be the best way for Houston to celebrate Halloween this weekend.