CB Gareon Conley Helping Texans Win Games After Midseason Trade

Against the Bills, Conley allowed just five of his 15 targets to be caught

Brandon Scott
January 06, 2020 - 11:04 pm

HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610) -- No one is calling it an official passing of the torch. 

Johnathan Joseph is still an integral part of the Houston Texans and has been productive at times this season.

Joseph leads the team with 13 passes defensed and had an interception against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 16. 

But the 35-year-old cornerback, in his 14th NFL season, is dealing with injuries as newcomer Gareon Conley takes more snaps.

Texans head coach Bill O'Brien on Monday insisted Joseph was not a healthy scratch in the playoff win against the Bills last week.

Joseph, like many other Texans throughout the season, is dealing with a hamstring injury.

Yet the Texans have made a conscious effort throughout the year to stockpile younger former first-round cornerbacks, in addition to drafting Lonnie Johnson Jr. in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. 

Bradley Roby, who signed as a free agent from Denver in the offseason, is arguably the Texans' top corner at this point. 

Vernon Hargreaves III was picked up off waivers from the Bucs and mostly plays in the nickel.

Roby, Conley and Hargreaves are all former first-round picks in the last six years who are now on their second team.

Last month, Joseph said having so many competitive players in the cornerback room is a positive for the Texans.

"From a talent standpoint, anytime you get drafted that high you'd think there would definitely be some talent there," Joseph said. "I think we're all different in many different ways. But at the end of the day, we're all football players. We're all competitive. We all want to win and we all want to be on the field ...

"Throughout our careers, we've all been a starter at some point in time. I think the more guys you can have like that at the end of the year, to where we have experience if a guy goes down, the next guy steps in. To have guys like that be available at this point and time of the year is big for us."

O'Brien was asked Monday whether Conley had exceeded the expectations when the Texans traded for him from the Raiders before Week 8.

Since then, Conley's 10 pass break-ups are the second-most in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.

Every trade has risk involved. But Conley was worth the risk, O'Brien said, despite concerns about his injury history in Oakland and at Ohio State.

In his first NFL postseason game on Saturday, Conley allowed just five of his 15 targets to be caught and had three passes defensed. 

"We felt like that was a guy that could help us, and he's come in here and our trainers and our strength staff have done a really good job with him," O'Brien said. "He's committed to doing everything he can to take care of himself and he's helped us win some games."

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