3. Just spitballing, but could the Texans switch things up on the right side?
The Houston Texans pass protection has been awful this season, and the statistics above help shed light on how bad they have been. So what is a way for them to improve? Well, Duane Brown and Wade Smith will get back on track soon, thus making the left side of the line as beastly as usual. The right side, though, is a different beast, because it was a huge detriment to the offense last season. Derek Newton simply isn’t a legitimate starting right tackle in this league, but the Texans can’t plug in rookie Brennan Williams since, you know, he’s out for the season.
I’m just throwing things out there, but what if the Texans started Ryan Harris over Derek Newton? While Newton has been hopelessly bad this season, Harris has only been “subpar”. He’s not a good player anymore due to a myriad of injuries, but he was once a really good tackle (remember his days with the Denver Broncos?). Plus, he has been solid in his past two outings, and he clearly outperformed Derek Newton last week against the 49ers. The Texans have nothing to lose by starting Harris, because he can’t be much worse than Newton is. He’s much better to this point, too. Am I crazy, or is this a legitimate option? Harris played his best football on the right side back when he was with the Broncos, so the right side does suit him well.
4. Appreciating the RBs
It’s been a down year for running backs as a whole, so Houston Texans fans really need to appreciate the state of their own running game. Arian Foster has run the ball for 390 yards this season, and he has been among the most consistent RBs in the league. That’s more than we can say for fellow star backs like Doug Martin, who have been flops this season. Foster has definitely been a flop, and he’s hushed the concerns that some had about his game coming into the season. If it wasn’t for Foster doing an excellent job of getting yardage on a tough Seattle Seahawks defense, then the Texans wouldn’t have come close to winning that game.
The Texans running back duo of Arian Foster and Ben Tate is absolutely beautiful, and Tate has enjoyed another highly efficient season with over six yards per carry. It’s almost too bad that Foster is so good, because Tate is never able to fully flaunt his abilities. Plus, Foster is having a great year catching the football with 18 receptions. His vision is top-notch, he’s missing tackles, and Foster has been one of the best running backs this season for sure.
5. J.J. Watt is so good that it’s almost unfair
I don’t like skewing things unfairly towards quarterbacks when ranking players in the league, so I have J.J. Watt at the top of my list. The man is just so good that it’s scary. He was by far the best player in the game last season, and what he is able to do as a 3-4 DE is absolutely legendary. Watt bats passes at the line of scrimmage like nobody’s business, I don’t think I can ever remember watching anyone in a three-man front put pressure on the quarterback like him, and Watt’s run defense is something of a treasure. Seriously, underrate his ability to defend the run at your own peril.
While Watt “only” has 3.5 sacks this season and “just” three passes defended, he has easily been the best defensive player in the league this year. I mean, it’s not even close. In fact, he’s been the best player in the game this year…again. J.J. Watt has 13 QB hits, 11 tackles for loss, and Advanced NFL Stats charts him with 36 “successful” plays on the year. He has destroyed running lanes, running backs, and everything else. His pass rushing? Again, it’s hard to believe that he is an interior pass rusher.