Houston Texans: Five things to watch for in the 2019 season

Houston Texans offensive in the huddle (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Houston Texans offensive in the huddle (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Houston Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph (Photo by Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Houston Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph (Photo by Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Number 3: Strength in secondary

The Texans 2019 schedule is absolutely brutal and the team will be facing a plethora of elite or mid-level QB’s-including 2018 NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady and Andrew Luck. Facing these types of quarterbacks puts a lot of emphasis on why the secondary is the second position group that needs to have a great year in order for the team to succeed as well as win football games.

This past offseason, the Texans let longtime cornerback Kareem Jackson walk to join the Denver Broncos and the prized acquisition of last offseason, Tyrann Mathieu, bolting to the Kansas City Chiefs.

According to reports, the Texans didn’t even contact Jackson about potentially staying and the team was unwilling to match the numbers that the Chiefs offered Mathieu.

It’s also worth noting that the team parted ways with 2015 1st-round pick Kevin Johnson who did not live up to his expectations one bit as he was consistently battling injuries. Johnson is getting a second chance with the Buffalo Bills.

Letting those three pieces walk, the Texans looked elsewhere for talent and added a few players to bolster up the secondary. The team through free-agency added: Tashaun Gipson from Jacksonville, Bradley Roby from Denver and Briean Boddy-Calhoun from the Browns.

Tashaun Gipson isn’t a flashy name but he consistently got the job done in Jacksonville in his two seasons there. His best season was in 2017 when the Jaguars were rolling and finished with a 10-6 record.

In 2017, he racked up 64 tackles, seven pass deflections, four interceptions and played in all 16 games.   Pro Football Focus rated him at 81.4, which was 30th in the league for all safeties.

Something that isn’t shown in the stat lines is his physicality. Gipson around the league is known to be the guy that you want going up against tight-ends. Last season, the Texans were slaughtered by tight-ends due to the fact that they didn’t have the personnel to match up with them.  Gipson has a history of locking down some of the best tight ends in the league-most notably Rob Gronkowski and Zach Ertz whom the Texans struggled with last year.

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Last year when Gipson faced those two studs, he held them to six catches and 41 yards combined.

When the Texans faced Rob Gronkowski in Week 1, he torched them for seven catches, 123 yards and a TD. The Texans faced Zach Ertz in a crucial game that had playoff implications for both teams and he was the key to an Eagles victory as he had 12 catches for 110 yards and two TDs.

Obviously, the Texans won’t face either of those tight ends this year as Gronk is retired in and Ertz is in the NFC, but the point still stands on how you want Gipson going up against tight-ends.

A silent name to watch out for this season is Gipson’s old teammate from Jacksonville Aaron Colvin.

Last off-season, Colvin signed a four-year, $34 million contract that includes $18 million guaranteed and a signing bonus of $4 million. Colvin was the best nickel CB on the market at the time and he was set to immediately start for the team at that position. However, injuries affected him a ton in his first year and his performance was underwhelming when he was on the field.

Before the Texans faced the Colts in the Wild Card game, Colvin was a healthy scratch as he was frustrated with his reduced role on the team.

Recently, during training camp, he talked to Aaron Wilson from the Houston Chronicle about last season:

"“The last time I talked to you, I wasn’t in the right state,” Colvin said. “I think I was really selfish with how I handled that situation. I think my ego took over. There was nobody to blame but myself. So, I’m thankful. I’ve never really been in that situation before. For me not to celebrate or uplift people around me the way I think I could have, it wore on me a few weeks after the season.”"

Now that Colvin is 100 percent healthy, he is looking to re-introduce himself and be a difference-maker for the defense.