Conspiracy Theory: The Wide Receivers
In this series we look at the moves the Houston Texans have made since the free agency period and during the draft and let you know what is “really” going on at Reliant and with the team in 2012.
All we have heard, since we can remember, the past few seasons is that the Houston Texans need to get Andre Johnson some help on the other side of him. Since 2006, Kevin Walter has been a cornerstone in Gary Kubiak’s offense and has put up 285 receptions for 3,565 yards and 22 touchdowns, not to mention he has started 76 of the 93 games he has appeared in for the Texans. His 285 receptions and 3,565 receiving yards rank him 3rd on the all time Texans receiving list while his 22 career touchdown receptions rank him 2nd on the list.
The disturbing part is that Walter only averages 28.3 receiving yards and 3.1 receptions a game during his Texans career. Throw in very little game breaking ability, Walter is very pedestrian for an NFL wide receiver. Enter the 2012 season, Walter is entering his 5th consecutive season as the starting wide receiver opposite Andre Johnson. But wait, we have a different take on what is going to happen heading into the new football season.
The reasons why are simple…..
1. The first sign is when Walter took a pay cut to stay with the Texans for the 2012 season. Not only did he realize that his stint in Houston may be coming to an end, but the money he was making before and after his pay cut he’ll probably not make anywhere else in the NFL. He went from $3.5 million annually to $2 million for the 2012 season, but that guarantees nothing for Walter. Despite his $8 million guaranteed already paid out, Walter should be acting like this is his rookie year in New York fighting for a spot on the roster.
2. But Kubiak is devoted to his players – please refer all questions about that topic to Eric Winston, Jacoby Jones and DeMeco Ryans.
3. Drafting of DeVier Posey and Keshawn Martin all but “guarantee” them a spot on the 53 man roster. If the Texans didn’t think Posey and Martin could contribute in 2012 (a.) they wouldn’t have been drafted and (b.) Jacoby Jones would not have been released. Going into camp, Martin will be pushing for the punt return duties and the slot wide receiver position for the Texans with Posey being one of the main threats to Walter.
4. The X-factors in this equation are Lestar Jean and Dwight Jones. Despite both being undrafted free agents, Jean in 2011 and Jones in 2012, both possess some “raw and untapped” ability to make the Texans final roster. Jean was pushing for a roster spot last season before a shoulder injury put him on the injured reserve. As for Jones, he was a top prospect coming into the 2012 draft out of North Carolina. After poor showings in the Senior Bowl and NFL combine, the red flags started popping up and that ultimately led to Jones being undrafted. The Texans are going to run into an issue when the final cut-down day rolls around on deciding who to release, Both with so much upside, the threat of trying to get one to the practice squad would leave either Jean or Jones to be taken by one of the other 31 NFL teams. With that….
5. The youth movement will commence in the wide receiver position. Kubiak has been keeping 5 wide receivers on the active roster consistently since coming to the Texans in 2006, and this year should be no different. The 5 wide receivers coming out of camp will be Andre Johnson, Lestar Jean, DeVier Posey, Keshawn Martin and Dwight Jones. With that simple move, the Texans average age at the position would be 24.2 years old, down from the 27.8 years of age of the 2011 wide receivers at the end of the season. (Jacoby Jones, Jeff Maehl, Bryant Johnson, Walter, Johnson).
Not only will Walter not be the starter on opening day, but he will not even be on the 53 man roster when the season kicks off.
It’s not a secret. It is unfolding before our eyes. Don’t be blind sided by what we have told you because all the signs are there to make a new explosive and younger wide receiver corps in 2012. Walter will be the victim of the new explosive offense the Texans are looking for and he will not be a part of it.
Want to “Sound Off”? Let us know what you think.
You can follow Patrick on Twitter. He is the Editor of State of the Texans and is a draft analyst on Sideline Scouting.