Houston Texans: The arrival of Gareon Conley has yielded mixed results

Houston Texans cornerback Gareon Conley (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Houston Texans cornerback Gareon Conley (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Newly-minted Houston Texans cornerback Gareon Conley, who was acquired from the Raiders, made his debut against his former team. The results were mixed. How?

The Houston Texans were able to notch their fifth win of the season against an Oakland Raiders team that has remained surprisingly above the fray for this season.  I’m sure many of us thought that they were going to be unbelievably bad but they are treading water which is certainly exceeding expectations.

On the other hand, the Houston Texans are expected to have another stellar season, trying to improve off the 11-5 record that they attained last season.  Many would categorize that mark as fool’s gold but they earned every one of those wins and that’s why you’ve got to play the games.

With a robust quarterback and an offense with plenty of weapons along with an offensive line that’s on the cusp of becoming something great as well as a solid defensive line, these should be enough tools for the team to be successful.

But injuries to both ends of the football and the lack of talented depth in the secondary is something that’s holding this team back from reaching its full potential.

J.J. Watt is done for the season with a pectoral muscle injury and hopefully, Laremy Tunsil will be back next week against the Jacksonville Jaguars in London to protect the left side for Deshaun Watson.  He had to exit early this past Sunday because of an injury to his shoulder.

Rookie offensive lineman Tytus Howard is still out nursing a partially torn MCL, Bradley Roby and Will Fuller are also out with a hamstring strain and none of these guys are expected to be back until after the bye week next month.  Johnathan Joseph has been week-to-week with his fair share of neck and hamstring injuries.  The good news is that Roderick Johnson may be available too as he has been nursing a stinger to his neck.

This team is banged up and there’s no way around admonishing such a notion. 

However, the Houston Texans sought help at the cornerback position by trading for Gareon Conley with their hopes pinned that he’d be able to flourish in Romeo Crennel’s 3-4 hybrid defensive sets.

The Raiders do play a lot of zone coverage and since he’s more of a man-to-man guy they hope that he’d be able to latch on quickly to their secondary.

His debut had mixed results — the plays that stood out to me the most was the 46-yard catch that turned out to be touchdown by Tyrell Williams which was a convoluted-looking route that took Conley by surprise.  If you play that clip back, all you can see is his No. 22 jersey chasing after his former teammate.

The other play was near the end of the game and it was a pivotal moment for him to redeem the miscue that he had in the previous quarter.  Conley and Williams had been battling all afternoon and what happened next was something that re-instilled my confidence in his ability to help this team win.

It was third-and-16 with 4:09 to go in the game and David Carr wanted to get to Williams to try to

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see if he could get a final strike late in the game to beat the Houston Texans, who were leading 27-24.

Carr threw a deep right pass to Williams to which Conley ferociously forced a pass breakup, ending the Raiders’ drive and forcing them to punt.  Watson, who had just been medically cleared after suffering an injury to his eye a result of a kick by Arden Key trotted back out one more time for series of handoffs to Carlos Hyde, and short passes to DeAndre Hopkins and Darren Fells.

The Houston Texans got the first downs needed to kneel the rest of the clock out and the game was won, partly because of Conley’s big play toward the end.

Although his results were mixed, I think the former 2017 first-round pick out of Ohio State has a lot to offer this team.

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Conley finished up with four combined tackles — one solo — along with two passes defended through 55 snaps against the Raiders.

I’m hoping for the best — let’s go Houston Texans!