Houston Texans: 3 reasons why Bill O’Brien is hurting the kicking game

Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Houston Texans
Houston Texans placekicker Ka’imi Fairbairn (Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Reason #3: The kickoff effect

Fairbairn’s touchback percentage on kickoffs, 2019 NFL Rank: # 23

A kicker in today’s NFL benefits from a strong leg on kickoffs, especially since NFL rules were

modified to bring kickoffs five yards closer to reaching opposing end zones to reduce violent collisions. Kicking the ball into, or through, the end zone for a touchback decreases the chances of an opposing team’s kick returner gaining excellent field position and possibly even scoring a touchdown.

Of all 32 NFL teams, the Texans—and Fairbairn, for that matter—rank 23rd in creating kickoffs that successfully result in touchbacks. Fairbairn’s kickoffs have been returned 26 times, ranking as the fourth-highest total of kickoffs resulting in returns in the NFL. On those 26 returns, other teams have gained a total of 486 yards on Fairbairn’s kickoffs—ranking as the eighth-worst total amount of yards allowed on kickoffs in the league through Week 11.

Next. Vernon Hargreaves gives the team hope in the secondary. dark

Also of note, Texans’ punter, Bryan Anger, contributed one kickoff in 2019 with an impressive 73-yard distance that was brought out of the end zone for a 13-yard return. Did you know—the distance of Anger’s sole kickoff ranks him in a tie for third in the NFL for the longest kickoff of the 2019 season? This leads to the question: should Anger get Texans’ kickoff duties more often?

What do you think? Please leave your comments below.