Texans Offense Will Be Elite In 2019

By Landry Locker | In The Loop

I expect the Houston Texans offense to be the strength of the team this coming season and among the best offenses in the NFL.

Let’s take a look at what where the Texans offense ranked in the NFL last season in the major offensive categories.

 

Texans 2018 offensive rankings:

Total offense: 15th (362.6 yards-per-game)

Points-per-game: 11th (25.1)

Rushing YPG: 8th  (126.3)

Passing YPG: 17th (236.3)

Last season’s offensive numbers aren’t overwhelming, but they’re not terrible especially when you consider everything that went wrong on the offensive side of the ball last season.

 

Here are 10 things that went wrong for the Texans offense in 2018:

No. 1: Starting right tackle Seantrel Henderson had a season-ending injury early in the first game of the year.

No. 2: Will Fuller only played in only seven games.

No. 3: Keke Coutee only played six games.

No. 4: D’Onta Foreman played in one game.

No. 5: Alfred Blue was in the running back rotation.

No. 6: Deshaun Watson wasn’t recognizing blitzes pre-snap in large part because it was his first full season as a starter.

No. 7: Offensive lineman Martinas Rankin was injured in the offseason.

No. 8: Ryan Griffin struggled to block and almost got Watson killed a couple of times while the other tight ends were inexperienced and finding their way.

No. 9: Watson got banged-up so bad he had to take a bus to the game in Jacksonville because he couldn’t fly on a plane.

No. 10: After the Texans traded for Demaryius Thomas because of Fuller’s season-ending injury Thomas tore his Achilles.

A LOT of stuff went wrong for the Texans offense last season. Some of it was self-inflicted, but some were just bad luck. However, the beauty of the NFL is it’s a year-to-year league and fortunately for the Texans there’s a reason for optimism on the offensive side of the ball heading into the 2019 season.

Here are the reasons why the Texans offense will take the next step in 2018:

 

No. 1: Deshaun Watson

Watson has said pre-snap recognition is one of the things he most wants to improve on, which becomes more natural through experience. He will also have a new QB coach in Carl Smith, who had been Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson’s coach for seven seasons.

Does anyone not believe Watson is going to improve in his second full season as a starter? I’ll wait…

 

No. 2: The Return Of Will Fuller

Could I interest you in some stats?

·      Fuller and Watson have played 11 games together. In those 11 games, Fuller has 45 catches for 782 yards and 11 TDs.

·      In those 11 games the Texans average 31 points-per-game and are 7-4.

·      Watson’s passer rating when throwing to Fuller last season was 147.2, which is the second best combination in the league.

Health is obviously a concern with Fuller, but when he’s on the field with No. 4 there aren’t many duos better.

 

No. 3: A Healthy Keke Coutee

Could I interest you in a stat?

Last season a Texans receiver had 11 catches in a game three times. DeAndre Hopkins did it in Week 17 against Jacksonville. Who did it the other two times? Coutee, twice. And he did it in only seven games.

Coutee adds an intermediate passing option for Watson, which allows him to get rid of the ball quicker, and he adds another element to the offense.

 

No. 4: The Return Of D’Onta Foreman

Foreman was never able to fully return from the Achilles injury he suffered his rookie season on a 34-yard touchdown in Week 11 against Arizona. He appeared in just one regular season game in 2018 and had a brief cameo in the playoff loss to the Colts.

Foreman adds a physical element to the Texans rushing attack that they’ve been lacking for a long time and is an underrated receiver out of the backfield.

Could I interest you in a stat?

Despite playing in only one game last season Foreman had as many receiving touchdowns (1) as Lamar Miller, who played in 14, and also had the longest reception for a running back (20 yards).

Foreman is fully healthy, motivated and ready to go in 2019. He has admitted that he had to learn to be a better professional, knows how big 2019 is for his career and it appears he and head coach Bill O’Brien are on the same page.

 

No. 5: More Experience And Talent At Tight End

The production from the tight end position was mediocre in 2018. In 2018 Texans tight ends combined for 61 catches, 740 yards, and 4 TDs.

Ryan Griffin: 24 receptions, 305 yards, 0 TD

Jordan Thomas: 20, 215, 4

Jordan Akins: 17, 225, 0

Elsewhere Around The NFL:

  •       Seven tight ends had more receptions
  •       Five had more yards
  •       15 had as many TD’s
  •       Colts TE Eric Ebron had 66, 750 and 13

Thomas and Akins are in their second seasons, Darren Fells was signed in the offseason, Kahle Warring was selected in the third round and Griffin’s days as a Texan are most likely over.

That’s all good news for improvement from the tight end position for the position in 2019.

 

No. 6: More Voices In Bill O’Brien’s Ear

Tim Kelly was promoted to offensive coordinator and Smith was brought in to be Watson’s new quarterback coach.

The responsibilities and impact Kelly will have on the offense are still unknowns, but it’s hard to imagine Watson not benefiting from an experienced QB coach like Smith.

The impact of the new coaches is TBD, but in my opinion the more voices in O’Brien’s ear the better.

 

No. 7:  An Improved Offensive Line

The offensive line couldn’t be worse than it was in 2018, right?

The hard thing about evaluating the Texans offensive line is we don’t know where O’Brien and offensive line coach Mike Devlin want each guy playing. This storyline will shape up more as the offseason continues, but again, it couldn’t be any worse, right?

I’ll pray for this one rather than wasting too much typing on it.

 

Listen to Landry Locker Monday-Friday 10-2pm on In The Loop on SportsRadio 610.