Cecil Shorts III: Handling Chargers Blitz Will Be Key To Victory For Texans

These are the keys to the game from former Texans wide receiver Cecil Shorts III.

Brandon Scott
September 22, 2019 - 10:47 am

The Houston Texans take a 1-1 record into their road matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Both games the Texans played in so far have been close. They lost on a last-second field goal to the New Orleans Saints in the week 1 Monday Night Football game, then held Leonard Fournette at the goal line for an unsuccessful two-point conversion that would have given the Jacksonville Jaguars a one-point lead with just seconds left to play.

Houston will need to better this week than it was last week in order to get the win.

These are the keys to the game from former Texans wide receiver Cecil Shorts III:

Continue to run the ball

One of the surprises of this young season is how good the run game has been.

The offensive line is making holes and moving people in the run game. As a whole they are improved but in the run game they are smashing fronts.

After losing Pro Bowler Lamar Miller to an ACL injury, Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson have come in and really filled that role nicely.

Carlos is a bigger back, has very good vision and patience but when he hits the hole he comes with authority and always falls forward.

Duke is a good change of pace back. He is averaging over 5 yards a carry himself. We haven’t seen too much of Duke but it's coming.

He is so talented and can be used in many different ways. This has been consistent for them so far in the season.

If you continue this, you’re keeping Philip Rivers off the field and controlling the game.

This also opens up play action deep passes for DeAndre Hopkins and company.

Don’t give up big shot plays

Rivers isn’t scared to throw that ball down the field, especially against a secondary that is unproven.

The Texans secondary has been doing a decent job thus far but this will be their biggest test.

Keenan Allen is a top 10 wideout in this league and Mike Williams has been putting up numbers this season. Mike has only 5 catches but averages 22.4 yards per catch. Keenan is a top tier route runner with over 221 yards this season on 16 catches. Both guys are tall and can make the 50-50 catch. You cannot let these guys get in rhythm or let them beat you down the field.

The Texans secondary, led by Bradley Roby, must keep these Chargers weapons in front of them all day, and slow them down.

Handle the blitz

This is something that can be tricky. It's a lot that goes into handling a blitz.

It takes constant communication from the lineman and quarterback, possible in game adjustments, hot routes based on pre-snap reads by the quarterback, as well as some built in hot routes that the QB must use if he has a blitz.

If it sounds complicated, that’s because it is and this week Gus Bradley can possibly scheme some stuff that can give the Texans some trouble. He will blitz safeties, corners, linebackers and have exotic looks.

He’s great at making adjustments and studying his opponents’ weaknesses. In a playoff game last year versus the Ravens, Gus Bradley had the Chargers playing with seven defensive backs on the field.

That’s uncommon, unfamiliar and it worked. So beating the blitz will be huge this week.

It will take constant communication, adjustments and the correct reads. This must happen to have a chance; you cannot win with Watson on his back. The sack number went down from game 1 to game 2, and that must continue to go down.

We'll see how this pans out for the Texans. If you handle the blitz, you're giving DW4 a chance to hit his playmakers down the field and be who he is, which is special.

Pressure busts pipes

According to Next Generation Stats, Philip Rivers was the most pressured quarterback last season. Not sacked, but pressured.

Rivers was facing 16 percent more pressure than any other quarterback in the NFL last season. Hard to believe with Watson being sacked 62 times, right?

If you watch the playoff game against the Patriots last year, they did a great job of doing different stunts and blitzes to get pressure up the middle and Rivers off of his spot in the pocket.

The Texans cannot, I repeat CANNOT drop eight in coverage or play passive against Rivers like they did Drew Brees.

If they do that the Texans will get carved like a pumpkin on Halloween. No quarterback likes getting hit or pushed off his spot, especially an older non-mobile quarterback.

Get pressure on Rivers, early and often.

Get a turnover/big play on special teams

Whether it’s a forced fumble, a big return, or a booming punt, making a big play on special teams can change the whole momentum of a game.

This is something we have not seen yet from the Texans yet. As a matter of fact, they just cut their starting punter to bring in Bryan Anger, who was here in training camp.  

That’s not a move you make unless you're unhappy with how something was being done.

I suspect Bill O Brien is making it known that if you're not doing your job well on this team, you will be gone. If you don’t agree look at the week 1 cut in Aaron Colvin, or like I just mentioned the week 2 cut in Trevor Daniel.

Most of the guys on this team have a role on special teams and I’m anticipating a big play coming this week.

It's needed and time for the special teams to get involved in a big way.

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