In part 3 of our position breakdowns, we take a look at the Texans wide receivers. Last season, Andre Johnson continued his brilliance, Kevin Walter continued to be a solid number two, and Jacoby Jones began to burst onto the scene as a true threat at the position. Although the Texans had the best passing attack in the NFL last season, they will still look to improve going into 2010.
Andre Johnson (2009)
101 rec – 1,569 yards
15.5 avg – 9 TDs
Kevin Walter (2009)
53 rec – 611 yards
11.5 avg – 2 TDs
Jacoby Jones (2009)
27 rec – 437 yards
16.2 avg – 6 TDs
Anthony North -
Going into the 2010 season, the Texans will have the best group of wide receivers in franchise history, and one of the best in the whole league. Led by superstar wide receiver Andre Johnson, the Texans had the best passing attack in the NFL last season. Johnson, who will be going into his 8th season in the NFL, is coming off consecutive 1,500+ yard and 100+ reception seasons. He has a great combination of size, speed, and strength with good hands to go along with it. The Texans have been very lucky to have a player of his caliber, and they should continue to benefit of his great play for years to come.
Returning to the team after an expired contract is Kevin Walter. Walter, who originally made his way to the Texans via restricted free agency from the Bengals in 2006, quickly propelled up the depth chart to become one of the most solid number two options at wide receiver in the NFL. After being injured for the early part of the 2009 season, Walter returned to finish with his third consecutive season of over 600 yards and 50 receptions. He’s no Andre Johnson, but he provides and element to help keep drives alive. With decent speed, Walter also has good size, hands, strength, and blocking ability. As long as he’s on the field, he’ll continue to get plenty catches in this offense.
Jacoby Jones may not have overly impressive career numbers, but he’s quickly becoming a big threat at the position. he showed that in 2009, averaging over 16 yards per catch and 6 touchdowns. As his primary role begins to shift from being a return man to more of a receiver, Jones will have more opportunities to show off his speed and athleticism in the Texans great passing offense. In 3+ wide receiver sets, Jones could be a big contributer by creating mismatches with Johnson and Walter already on the field. He should receive an even more increased role in 2010.
Next on the roster is David Anderson. Anderson, originally a 7th round pick of the Texans back in 2006, will be going into his 5th season with the team. Although he may not have much in the way of size, Anderson still finds ways to get open down the field out of passing formations. He should continue to be a solid option for Matt Schaub in the passing game.
Also on the roster is quickly fading receiver Andre Davis. He’s been a victim of circumstances with the rise of Jacoby Jones as well as the fact that he’ll be 31 next season. Glenn Martinez was a late addition to the roster last season, but was a decent option to help fill out the roster. New additions include 6th round pick Trindon Holliday and 7th round pick Dorin Dickerson. Holliday, a very fast return man from LSU, will have to work on his receiving skills if he wants to be a part of the passing game in 2010. Finally, Dickerson has been said to be in the mold of Andre Johnson, though he will also need to work hard to contribute on offense in 2010.
Cameron Butler -
The Texans wide receiving corp. is most likely the best they have had in their history. With Matt Schaub staying healthy all of last season, it gave a chance for the wide-outs to show their true skill. Andre Johnson is coming off his second straight season with 1,500+ yards. With the way things are shaping up so far this off-season, he might just be in the book for another 1,500 yard season if not more. The Texans running game will also take some pressure off of Johnson by improving the play-action, giving him more time to strut his speed.
Like previous seasons, he will be aided by Kevin Walter, who has been steadily of six hundred yards a season since his second year with the Texans. This offseason, Walter was awarded a 5-year, $21.5 million contract with $8 million guaranteed. I expect him to be the second receiver behind Johnson come the start of the regular season. He will, however, have to fight for a job this season unlike previous years where he was a clear-cut starter. It is kind of a surprise to whom it is as well.
Jacoby Jones was the Texans ace-in-the-sleeve last season. With every team focusing on stopping Johnson and Walter, Jones would sneak past the secondary. He had seven plays over twenty yards and three plays over forty yards. Entering a contract year, he needs to be more consistent and be able to catch more balls in traffic. If Trindon Holliday takes his punt return job from him, he might get a big time contract if he can focus on catching.
David Anderson is one of the more underrated back-up receivers in the league. If you can consider a back-up underrated at all? While he has been steadily rising at about a clip of 100 yards a season, do not expect an amazing season from him, more like a solid season. Also, his production might level off too. A four-hundred yard season from a fourth string receiver is really good though. You could not ask much more of him.
As for the rest of the receiving corp., Andre Davis who has been declining in production since he joined the Texans three seasons ago. Trindon Holliday, the newest Texan who was drafted in the sixth round as a kick returner, might pose a threat to Davis’ kick return job. Glenn Martinez, who was signed last season to add some depth, is a speedy receiver, though we didn’t really get to see much of him in 2009. Last but not least is Dorin Dickerson, who was drafted in the last round as a tight end and be switched to a wide receiver. That poses some interesting questions going into training camp. This will be left for another time though.