March 21, 2018

Texans Pulse: What To Watch Against the Raiders

It is hard to say if there is anything to get excited for against the Oakland Raiders and the Houston Texans this upcoming weekend. The Texans are in a seven game skid that has produced some bad and heartbreaking football to watch. There have been some bright spots and it seems that there will be a small youth movement coming in the these last seven games of the 2013 season.

We highlight a few things to note for the upcoming game and injuries seem to be the key issue for the Texans coming into Sunday.


Things To Watch


– With the apparent knee injury to starting linebacker Joe Mays, recently acquired Jeff Tarpinian is set to start if Mays cannot go on Sunday.  Mays had this to say about his knee.

“I’m not sure. It’s kind of tough tell. I don’t want to sit here and tell you that I will or that I won’t. Right now, I felt good today. I felt better today than I have the past couple of days. We’ve just got to monitor it from here on out.”

The Texans are dealing with some key injuries and Mays has been a solid player for the Texans this season. Losing Mays could be a bigger issue especially with the lack of depth at inside linebacker. Tarpinian, Darryl Sharpton and recently signed D.J. Smith are the remaining healthy inside linebackers on the team.

Mays has started all nine games this season and recorded 38 tackles, 1 sack and a pass deflection.

Shane Lechler has been in the hospital with the flu which also makes him a game time decision on Sunday against his former team. It is hard to imagine the Texans going into the game without a punter because that would put any team at a disadvantage. Reports say the Lechler will be out of the hospital on Friday which gives him almost two full days to get ready for the game.

If Lechler cannot go on Sunday, the Texans will depend on Randy Bullock to do the punting and Matt Schaub to do the holding on field goals.

– The Texans secondary could be seeing up to three new players on the field on Sunday with Kareem Jackson as a game time decision and the departure of Ed Reed. The secondary will be looking at Brice McCain, Brandon Harris and Josh Victorian to help at the corner position, and the third safety in the dime position could be Eddie Pleasant or possibly Harris if they don’t need him at corner back. There will be some changes on Sunday, and give the Texans a younger look to go with rookie D.J. Swearinger and Shiloh Keo at the safeties with veteran Johnathan Joseph as one of the corners.

– The Houston Texans offensive line has had it’s shares of ups and downs this season. One factor that is being over looked is the fact that the Texans offensive line is being asked to become more traditional pass protectors with Case Keenum as the quarterback working mainly out of the pistol. The Texans offense was built around the run game and boot action that Kubiak’s offense that used movement to help the offensive line. Now with Keenum in the pistol the Texans offensive line has to turn into true pass protectors and diagnose blitzes on the field. This has been a process since the Kansas City Chiefs game starting nearly a month ago, the offensive line and Case Keenum are still learning.

Here are some splits from the offensive line with Matt Schaub and Case Keenum as the quarterback.

Number in parentheses is average per game

With Schaub (6 games)

QB Sacks 17 (2.8) | QB Hurries 22 (3.7) | QB Hits 74 (12.3) | Offensive Plays 475 (79) | Blitzed 80 times (32%)

With Keenum

QB Sacks 9 (3) | QB Hurries 9 (3) | QB Hits 32 (10.6) | Offensive Plays 195 (65) | Blitzed 47 times (41%)


– Head Coach Gary Kubiak is set to make his return on Sunday after missing a game due to his health issues. Kubiak is coming back sooner than expected trying to do everything he can to make things easier on the team. Oddly enough the team seemed to hit an offensive slump once again in the second half of a football game. This team will be rejuvenated with the return of Kubiak could happen, but things have been bad for this Texans team. It was apparent at times that the offense looked lost without Kubiak especially in the pace of the offense and getting the plays in to the huddle in a timely manner. Kubiak plays a bigger part in the offensive play calling and flow of the game than people realize, and seeing him back Sunday he will get back to protecting Case Keenum and putting him in positions to succeed. 



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

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