March 19, 2018

The Halfway Point: Texans’ Preseason Issues

Every NFL team has ongoing issues and the Houston Texans are not immune to those issues either. Through two games, there have been some interesting storylines coming out and it starts with certain position groups. Injuries and question marks about personnel have started some questions brewing in position groups.



Growing Issues


The Offensive Line

The offensive line, especially the penciled in starters, has really struggled as a group. We know it is early but the lack of run game is puzzling. Throw in a series of 3 consecutive plays where Duane Brown was called for a hold, Chris Myers was pushed back into the running back and Derek Newton gave up an easy sack. The starters have been behind the curve of production, especially after question marks from last season.

Also, the injury to Wade Smith leaves another question mark at left guard. Ben Jones is currently filling that position and rookie David Quessenberry has been playing good football early this preseason. As much as the offensive staff does not look for rookies to start, the same can be said here for the rise of Quessenberry. Jones will get every opportunity to start until W. Smith returns to start at left guard.

This preseason did not start the way you would want an offensive line to be, especially in the run game category.


Outside Linebackers

Despite all of the hype surrounding the rookies of the group, the Texans have starters in place with questions behind them. Brooks Reed and Whitney Mercilus have been named opening day starters, if Mercilus can come back from a lingering hamstring issue. After those two, there is a long list of question marks including veteran Bryan Braman and rookies Sam Montgomery, Trevardo Williams, Justin Tuggle and Willie Jefferson.

The Texans need two things from this group, someone to compliment the run game (as in setting the edge) and a pass rusher. Special teams play a big role also, which gives a slight advantage to Braman. There will have to be mixing and matching with the rookies and there will be some decisions that this defensive staff will have to make. Nothing is set in stone and there is still work to do. With unproven quantities, the selection process will all be made on projections for the rookies.


The Safety Position

This is centered around Ed Reed‘s health and some spotty play the past two games. Consistency is the key and keeping something together until Reed returns is going to be the main goal. The one player they need to really step up is Danieal Manning and his leadership will be looked upon in this early part of the season. D.J. Swearinger and Shiloh Keo will be playing in the secondary next to Manning and their growth as players in the next two games is important. The issue lies in Eddie Pleasant, who has been underwhelming in the early part of preseason but could possibly be kept on the 53 because of Reed’s injury. Brandon Harris showed on Saturday that he can fill in at safety when needed which could be a good thing for the Texans, for Harris gives the defense a little more athletic player on the back-end.

The safety position is another question mark. With only three healthy safeties, the Texans have some work to do.


You can follow Patrick on Twitter.  He is the Editor of State of the Texans.





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