When your quarterback is Deshaun Watson, you know you’re already way ahead of the game when it comes to having a potentially explosive offensive. When your quarterback finished Top 15 in passing yards, Top 10 in touchdowns, and Top 50 in rushing yards, you know the man can move the ball in a variety of meaningful ways. Now enter Brandin Cooks and David Johnson.
Newly acquired wide receiver Brandin Cooks is not only one of the fastest men in the NFL; he’s productive as well. Over the last six seasons, Cooks has accumulated 14.3 yards per catch. More notably, when he played for the New England Patriots, the other NFL team running the ridiculously complex Erhardt-Perkins offensive scheme, he averaged a staggering 16.6 yards per catch.
Cooks has eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark in all but his rookie year and last season; both years were also the only ones he had fewer than 100 targets. With Cooks on one side and either Will Fuller V or Kenny Stills on the other in Houston, opposing corners better lace up their cleats and be prepared to lose some track meets over and over again.
According to Pro Football Focus, Deshaun Watson is the second best deep passer in the NFL, behind only the Seattle Seahawk’s Russell Wilson. Imagine what that will translate to with not one but three of the best go-route receivers in the league on his team. Unfortunately, Watson also led the league in deep passes dropped by his receivers last year.
That was before Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb came along. While Fuller and Cooks are currently ranked 9th and 11th in yards per catch , Cooks didn’t have the benefit of Watson throwing to him last year or the talent around him such as Cobb, Fuller, and Stills to draw some attention away.
When the defenses do manage to somehow keep a lid on all the Texans’ speed at wideout, containment will break down and Watson will have to find away to do something he does better than most: improvise.
Enter David Johnson.
Since 2015, 25 RBs have seen 50+ targets on plays in which the QB took at least 3 seconds to throw.— Aaron Reiss (@aaronjreiss) August 24, 2020
David Johnson (68 tgts, 45 catches) leads all of them in yards per catch (15.2) and 1st down rate (60%).
He could be a chain mover when Deshaun Watson improvises.
And don’t forget Duke Johnson Jr., who currently ranks #8 on the catch percentage charts.
While all this sounds well and good on paper, there’s a third aspect to the passing game a lot of folks never consider: the offensive line. That too looks to be in the best shape it’s ever been in during the Bill O’Brien era.
reminder: deshaun watson should enjoy real pass protection for the first time in his career this season. https://t.co/R6tW8EsfGy— the podfather (@Fantasy_Mansion) August 24, 2020
Are you buying on this new Houston offense or selling? Who do you think will emerge as the new star? Where do you see the Texans’ offense ending up when 2020 is all over?