Assessing the Damage: Changes for the Texans to Think About
Three weeks into the season, the feeling is that the Houston Texans are on the brink of falling apart. The start of the season has not been pretty and can be described as sloppy football. The Texans have to do some self scouting and really look at on the field issues to make their team better for the long haul.
We are not talking about replacing Matt Schaub or firing Gary Kubiak, but looking at underlying issues with the team that could help this team and to make them better. We looked at some changes that the Texans could do that could help this team without making any rash decisions.
Take a look.
Changes to Think About
- Ben Jones and Ryan Harris: Time to Dust Them Off
This offensive line has been erratic for three weeks now and it starts with the decline of Wade Smith and the inconsistency of Derek Newton. It is time to give Ben Jones a chance at left guard and see if he can put some consistency at the position. At this point of what the team has seen from Smith, this could be the chance to get Jones into the game. As for Harris, his play against Baltimore warrants a look at right tackle and getting him on the field. This is more about a pass protection issue at right tackle than in the run game, because Newton has been efficient in that department. It is the pass protection that Newton has struggled with sacks, offensive holds which is turning into a persistent issue week to week. Getting the attention of Smith and Newton and creating in season competition could help this team to make the offensive line better.
Wade Smith: 230 snaps, 3 sacks, 8 quarterback hurries
Derek Newton: 230 snaps, 2 sacks, 2 quarterback hits, 10 quarterback hurries
- Willie Jefferson Anyone?
This has to do with the lack of edge presence when Brooks Reed is rushing on obvious passing situations. Rookie Willie Jefferson made this team based on his ability to rush the passer, but he has not been given the chance. We are not calling for him to get the majority of the snaps at outside linebacker, but getting him in obvious passing downs. Reed does his job against the run, but passing situations he has been a step behind every play. Having Jefferson just to rush the passer with Whitney Mercilus, J.J. Watt and Antonio Smith on the field too could be a nice amount of speed with these four. Getting to the quarterback is essential and for a team that has not been getting production out of Reed. Jefferson could be another added bonus in a defense that could use some edge help.
Brooks Reed: 194 snaps, 4 quarterback hurries.
- More Arian Foster and Ben Tate
Two of the better running backs in the league and they are not getting the football enough in the running game. 79 rushes to 128 pass plays is not the combination that the Texans want going into week four of the season. Every NFL teams offense is predicated on running the football efficiently and for the Texans it has always been their bread and butter. Foster and Tate not getting the football in their hands only makes life tougher on Matt Schaub, and right now Schaub needs all the help he can get. If they can get the running game going once again it could help and right now the Texans are averaging 4.9 yards a carry. Running the ball like that in the first three weeks is important to keep going for the remainder of the season.
- Kubiak Needs to Trust His Players
There is no question this is the most talented team Gary Kubiak has had since his arrival in 2006. If anything, he is not playing to his strengths of his team and there are weapons on both sides of the ball at his disposal. Trusting his players with his play calling abilities and let them win the one on one match-ups. His inability to adjust to ebbs and flows of the game have stunted the growth of his team. The pace is slow for the Texans offense which makes things hard to watch things are going bad. Whatever the combination maybe, Kubiak has to let off the reins some and let him players perform.
You can follow Patrick on Twitter. He is the Editor of State of the Texans.