Houston Texans: Growth at positions will yield improvement for the offense

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Houston Texans are experiencing noticeable growth at various positions on offense. Because of this, we’ll see improvement in 2019. Why? Let’s look.

By the start of the season, the Houston Texans should have their full arsenal at the skill positions. Here is why the growth and upgrades at those said positions will mitigate the early offensive line issues.

In this year’s draft, the Houston Texans really put an emphasis on protecting Deshaun Watson by drafting offensive lineman in the first and second round. They took Tytus Howard in the first round and Max Scharping in the second.  Both players played offensive tackle in college but will likely start their careers off as guards.

Furthermore, the Houston Texans signed Matt Kalil and brought back Seantrel Henderson into the mix.  Kalil was injured for all of 2018 and Henderson took a few snaps into Week 1 before sustaining a season-ending ankle injury against the New England Patriots.

So this season’s starting offensive line will be a lot different.  As a whole, they should be better just because they are going to be much more athletic but I do expect for there to be some early growing pains, as the unit learns how to play with each other.

Well, the good news for the Houston Texans is that their young offensive skill players have shown growth from last year and all of them look to be available for the start of the season.

We all know about DeAndre Hopkins — he’s the best wide receiver in the NFL.   There’s actually nothing more needs to be said there.

We also know about Lamar Miller, a consistent — yet productive — starting running back.

Will Fuller will make his return from a torn ACL. He did not play in the first preseason game but so far he has shown that he has not lost a step. The return of a more experienced and healthy Fuller will allow Watson to get the ball out quick — both short and deep — to a player that can get into his routes very quickly!

In the 2018 draft, the Houston Texans provided Watson with more weapons. First, we will talk about Keke Coutee. Coutee is probably already the best pure slot receiver the Houston Texans have ever had. Last season, he struggled with injuries but when he has suited up, he has been explosive for this team!

In his playoff debut, Coutee had 11 receptions, 110 yards, and a touchdown. Again, when he’s in the building the guy is a playmaker who consistently turns short passes into big gains.

This offseason, and in camp, Coutee has shown that he soaked in the limited reps he had last year and has a better grasp of the offense.

The return of Coutee along with Fuller will provide Watson with two speedy receivers that have the ability to quickly create separation and can easily turn a slant into a touchdown on any play.

These two players alone will help Watson get the ball out quick and not force the offensive line to have to pass protect for too long.

Also in the 2018 draft, the Texans drafted “The Jordans.”  Both Jordan Akins and Jordan Thomas, stayed healthy last year and both flashed big-play abilities. Both guys have also shown to have a better grasp of the offense and their responsibilities.

In the preseason week one matchup against the Green Bay Packers, Akins was ranked as the Houston Texans top-rated offensive player by Pro Football Focus. Akins demonstrated his speed and YAC ability by breaking four tackles off just two catches.

While Thomas was held out of the preseason game with a hamstring injury, he has shown that he is still a matchup nightmare for opposing players in the secondary.

In his return to practice this week, he was already back to overpowering cornerbacks and being the red-zone threat that he is.

These two young tight ends will give Watson the opportunity to get the ball out quickly, even when they are covered.  This is because both players will either have a size or speed advantage on most plays.

Just recently, the Houston Texans acquired Duke Johnson from the Cleveland Browns via trade in

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exchange for a conditional 4th-round pick. This acquisition will be huge for the Houston Texans, as they haven’t had a pass-catching running back of his caliber since Arian Foster.

Last year in a limited role behind Nick Chubb, Johnson had more receptions (47) and receiving yards (429) than Lamar Miller.  In a similar role, Johnson will provide Watson with another quick screen/dump-off option.

The Houston Texans skill positions as a whole have been upgraded and will be more experienced with the offense in 2019.

Yes, the Houston Texans‘ offensive line may have some early struggles but they are way more prepared to deal with those issues this year.

In addition, undrafted rookie receiver Tyron Johnson has been flashing big-time throughout camp and also had the longest play against the Packers last week. Johnson has the ability to run a 4.36 in the 40-yard dash can make plays both on the inside and outside. If he continues to do this, that could be yet another option for Watson, who can get open quickly.

Next. Texans: Jordan Akins is on track to making his mark in 2019. dark

The Houston Texans were ranked 15th in offense last season, averaging 362.6 yards per game.  With the growth of the players I mentioned, I’d expect to see a bump in production.

Do you agree?  Feel free to sound off in the comments section below.