Three Texans Who Need a Position Change for 2014
The Houston Texans have to figure out their depth for the 2014 season and right now the team has players under contract that have had their growth stunted on the field. For whatever reason, the players we focus on have been passed by other players, over matched or they look out of position. Sometimes as a coaching staff, there has to be a moment where they have to think outside of the box and put players in positions to succeed.
Here are the three that could use a position change could help their NFL careers and most importantly the Texans for 2014.
Brandon Harris (Pictured Above)
It is tough to be hard on Harris, especially with the small amount of playing time he has gotten on the field. He has never really been given a shot to be a key piece of the Texans defense with Kareem Jackson, Johnathan Joseph and Brice McCain getting the bulk of the snaps. There were rumors of Harris working at safety during the 2011 and 2012 season during practices, and during the 2013 preseason marked the first time that Harris played safety. This short experiment made a favorable impression in his short time in the position during the preseason.
Here is what we know about Harris to this point, he lacks straight line speed to run with wide receivers, and he has a knack for playing physical with wide receivers. He gets flagged many of times for his physical style of play, but on the other hand he is not scared to mix it up as a tackler from the secondary.
This could be the time to move Harris from corner to safety and use his skill set to his advantage. Allow him to use his eyes facing the quarterback and be another safety when needed, very similar to the transition that Glover Quin made in 2011 for Wade Phillips. The Texans will be using dime and nickel packages and Harris could be used to play the deep half or play the slot in key situations. It worked for Quin and Harris could use the same type of move to help his career.
Out of Position
A defensive end at Arizona and an outside linebacker for the Texans 3-4 defense, Reed has really struggled to be more than edge setter in the run game. He has been non-existent as a pass rusher and for a defense that needed a real edge presence, Reed was not the player the Texans hoped he would be.
The Patriots had Teddy Bruschi who had the same issues as Reed. Went from defensive end at Arizona to inside linebacker for the Patriots, while Romeo Crennel was there as the defensive coordinator. Reed could be in a good spot this coming season to make the transition, and this could be the season to do it. The Texans played with the idea in 2013 with Reed in the middle next to Brian Cushing, but the failures of Trevardo Williams, Willie Jefferson and Sam Montgomery left the Texans no choice but to leave Reed on the outside.
Reed has done spot duty as an inside linebacker in short yardage situations, and he has the size and speed to play that position in a 3-4 defense. Reed has a good skill set but outside linebacker is not the answer for him at the moment, and getting him to the inside could help with depth and possible starter for the upcoming season.
The biggest mystery of the season, why the Texans kept running Newton out to right tackle. He struggled in pass protection and was a magnet for flags this past season. He was over-matched by faster edge rushers and could never established himself in any way to protect the quarterback consistently. The one area that Newton produced at was in the run game, and he moved people with ease next to Brandon Brooks with their sheer size.
Newton at 6-6 and 313 lbs. could prove to be a viable option at guard next season, at with the left guard position coming open, it could be worth a try. Newton struggles gaining depth in pass protection with poor balance and footwork. On the inside on the offensive line, it is a different ball game for the offensive lineman. With space still to cover, but not as much, Newton could be in position to take advantage of the things he does do good. Using his size to take on rushers from shorter angles, which he has shown he can do.
Bumping him inside to handle bigger defensive lineman would be good to see, but at worst he could provide depth as a guard.