Houston Texans: An intense battle between Bryan Anger and Trevor Daniel

Houston Texans punters Trevor Daniel and Bryan Anger (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Houston Texans punters Trevor Daniel and Bryan Anger (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

The battle for the punter job for the Houston Texans is intense between Bryan Anger and Trevor Daniel has been intense. Who will win the job? Let’s look.

The Houston Texans have one more week to go before it’s showtime for the 2019 season.  They’ll have a short week to get ready for the Los Angeles Rams at NRG Stadium, their final home preseason game before heading out the road to face the New Orleans Saints in Week 1.

If they were trying to make a case for being ready for the season, it certainly wasn’t a good one this past Saturday night.  The entire game could be categorized as a debacle and there was nothing much to deduce from that game except that I was glad it was over when the game clock eclipsed to triple-zeroes in the final quarter.

The Houston Texans failed to get into the end zone and it seemed to me that they were just trying to get through the game without getting anybody else hurt, aside from the fact that Lamar Miller suffered a season-ending injury and Zach Fulton will likely be sidelined for the rest of the preseason for a torn ACL/MCL and turf toe respectively.

I honestly can’t blame that Houston Texans for doing that but they at least could’ve put some points on the board.  The game was largely unwatchable and my head was on a swivel between that and the Houston Astros offensive bonanza against the Los Angeles Angels that night as well.

But it’s over and let’s talk about an intense position battle that’s occurring at the punter position.

Trevor Daniel beat out Shane Lechler around this time last season to start at punter but one season later, he’s in the hot seat as veteran punter Bryan Anger was signed back in July to provide some competition for the second-year punter.

It has been intense so far and Daniel truly should be feeling the heat from Anger.  Who will win the battle?

Let’s take a look at the numbers.

So far this preseason, Daniel has averaged 42.3 net yards per punt with three of them inside the 20-yard line.  After a terrible start in Week 1, he’s doing his utmost to stand up to heat that has been thrust upon him.  Anger didn’t appear in Week 1 but once he started getting reps in Week 2, that’s when Daniel stepped up his game.

It didn’t help that one of his punts was blocked in the first half this past Saturday against the Cowboys but he’s stood up to Anger and it’s going to be a tough decision for Bill O’Brien and Brad Seely to make after the dust settles later this week from the preseason.

On the other hand, Anger has averaged 38.4 net yards per punt in his two appearances Week 2 and 3 with one punt inside the 20-yard line.  On the surface, it appears that Daniel is yielding more production but let’s take a deeper dive.

Pro Football Focus has graded Daniel at a 62.4 for the preseason so far along with a 60.8 on special teams.  For Anger, he’s at 66.9 punt along with a 61.9 special teams grade.

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PFF gives a slight edge to Anger in terms of performance but for all intent and purposes, this battle is awfully close based on each guy’s body of work.

Anger had a nice tackle on special teams in the second half that I actually stood up cheered for so he’s still doing the little things to make him stand out.

Nonetheless, despite Daniel having miscues at times, I think his job is SAFE for the 2019 season.  He’s a lot younger than Anger — plus more upside — and he has shown that when his mettle is tested, that he can stand up to the challenge.  I really like Anger but has he done enough to steal the punter job?  We’re about to find out.

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We’ll know at the end of this week on what the final verdict is — go Houston Texans!

For more grades, advanced statistics and more at Pro Football Focus, subscribe to PFF’s EDGE and ELITE subscriptions at ProFootballFocus.com.