The Houston Texans have tweaked their offensive line once again and it’s up to Mike Devlin to ensure a smooth transition. He’s in the hot seat. Why?
The Houston Texans‘ offseason is definitely underway and there have been some changes that have been made to the roster. There will be a lot of units of this team that will look vastly different than last season.
But you know what? Change is necessary. Change is good and it’s a must for this team as the NFL — especially the AFC South — remains as tough as ever to compete in.
I fully expect the Houston Texans to be in a dogfight to try to win the crown this season as it won’t be as easy to achieve such status this season. The Indianapolis Colts looked rejuvenated with a healthy Andrew Luck under center and have plenty of capital to remain competitive for quite some time.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have inserted Super Bowl-winning quarterback Nick Foles — ousting the all-but-banished Blake Bortles — to try the recapture some of the magic the team had during their playoff run back in 2017 season that took them to the AFC Championship Game.
I’d presume that the Tennessee Titans won’t be much better this season and I honestly think that team earning seven wins is reach in terms of projection.
But all-in-all, the division is getting stronger and one of the most important units, the offensive line, has to be stout enough to protect the likes of Deshaun Watson. He was sacked a record 62 times last season and that cannot happen again.
The tackle position was one of the weakest links on the line last season with Julie’n Davenport and Kendall Lamm holding down the left and right side — respectively — after Seantrel Henderson went down with a broken ankle in the first game of this past season. It was just a few snaps into the start of the game and Davenport had to quickly supplant him in short order.
We all knew how that turned out and he eventually was moved to the left side and Lamm was moved to the right.
Lamm was solid enough last season and was able to secure a one-year deal with the Cleveland Browns. Davenport is now going into his third season on the line and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of upward progress for the former 4th-rounder out of Bucknell.
But the Houston Texans will invest in him and hopefully, he will turn a corner this season.
In the meantime, the franchise brought in veteran tackle Matt Kalil to compete for a job as well as them drafting Tytus Howard (first round) and Max Scharping (second round) to fill out the unit.
In terms of the guards, Zach Fulton and Senio Kelemete were quite satisfactory at their positions and there’s no need to tweak those positions at this time. Fulton has turned out to be a nice pickup and Kelemete, although I’d like to see some improvement has been good enough for this line.
Nick Martin, who will be going into his 4th season, will be holding it down at the center position and he certainly has produced enough to warrant the retention of his services. I’d like to see him trim the botched snaps — which was what exactly happened in Week 1 — where you’d see Watson chasing after the football, figuring out what in the heck happened. This was a common theme throughout the season and that’s got to be curtailed.
But with all these pieces coming together, there’s no excuse for this unit to underperform once
More from House of Houston
- Are you the 2021 FanSided Sports Fan of the Year?
- Houston Texans: 4 reasons Romeo Crennel is right coach right now
- Astros-Twins Wild Card Series: 5 things to know as MLB postseason begins
- Houston Texans: The Most Underrated Sports Drought Ever
- Houston Texans: J.J. Watt’s early case for NFL Hall of Fame
again and if it does, offensive line coach Mike Devlin, who’s in 4th season with the Houston Texans, should get the boot.
The Houston Chronicle’s John McClain answered this exact question of Devlin’s future in his mailbag recently and here’s what he said with the context of the question:
"“Q: How much pressure is on the Texans’ O-line coach this year? — Homero D.A: Lots of pressure on Mike Devlin, Homero. There always is. Bill O’Brien believes Devlin is a good coach who needed more talent. They used first- and second-round picks on tackles, signed veteran tackle Matt Kalil and got back right tackle Seantrel Henderson. Barring injuries, I think the line will show a lot of improvement and no longer be the weakness it was last season.”"
What McClain is saying is true. Even after the season was over, Bill O’Brien vigorously defended Devlin during his exit interviews. I think O’Brien feels that he has been dealt a bad hand over the past few seasons as other positions were a higher-priority such as a quarterback.
But this is Devlin’s draft this year as I’m sure he had input in these picks so it’s on him to ensure this team performs up to snuff.
We’re about to find out if these improvments actually work.
Until then — let’s keep our pinned as we meander through the offseason.