Why the Houston Texans Won’t Persue a #2 Wide Receiver
By Joe Owens
I would like to say that I have waffled with this matter for some time now. Back and forth I have went and every week or so I believe I find a reason to change the current stance I am in support of for the particular week. Once again I believe to have found reasoning to no longer be on the fence about adding another wide receiver to the mix in Houston.
The Houston Texans may or may not pursue a true number two option at wide receiver this year once the lockout is lifted and free agency begins. Some think they should bring in a more prominent player to play opposite Andre Johnson. Someone who will help to dictate a more honest defense and allow Andre Johnson to draw more single coverage. I’m not so sure they don’t already have a second option on the team at the moment.
Now when I would mention a second option for the longest I thought of it as being one player. One player that had was a household name. Someone who was flashy and brought that “Wow!” factor with his mere signing. But as I began to look into the offensive side of the ball thats when it all became clear. The Houston Texans already have a second receiving option. Not in the traditional sense as you might think nor is it one specific person. What the Houston Texans have is a team at the second wide receiving option….imagine that! The second threat through the air had been there all along. Allow me to explain if you will.
I’m not speaking about Dorin Dickerson. Realistically Dickerson’s chance to get on the field may not come until the 2012 season. Being converted from a tight end to a wide receiver at the NFL level and then place behind Andre Johnson then told to learn the postion from the best in the business can only confirm that the Texans coaching staff are in no hurry to get Dickerson in to the mix.
If the Texans were to add a second receiving option they would essentially be taking catches away from Andre Johnson and does anyone really want that? The Texans are loaded with second receiving options and not just low end players either. For example running back Arian Foster caught 61 passes last year for 9.2 yards a catch. Only eight other backs in the league, that had over 20 catches, had a better yard per catch average. Every time Foster caught the ball he was almost gauranteed a first down and that in itself makes Foster alone a legitimate receiving threat out of the backfield.
Next up Owen Daniels. Daniels sputtered at the begining of the season but came back at the end of last year like a fist of fury. Daniels finished the last month of the season averaging 6 catches a game and 68 yards a game as well. Not bad for a player coming back from blowing out a knee. Daniels looked crisp, quick out of breaks and back to his pre-knee injury form. When 100% healthy Daniels is considered a legitimate threat from the slot position.
Moving down the line both Kevin Walter, who I will elaborate more on in a second, and Jacoby Jones had 51 catches each on the season and tight end Joel Dreessen had the highest average per catch of any receiver on the team and that was as a back-up tight end who still managed to catch 36 passes on the year. Not bad at all in a stop gap siuation while waiting on Owen Daniels to get back to full strength.
Getting back to Kevin Walter. Walter is probably the most under-rated player on the offense. What Walter brings to the table doesn’t always show up on the stat sheets. Being one of the most sure handed receivers in teh game and playing opposite Andre Johnson makes Walter a great fit for this offense. Kevin Walter has very good hands without a doubt. Just take a look at this wide receiver drop percentage article done by the boys over at Pro Football Focus. From 2008 to 2010 Walter only had 5 drops while having 169 catchable balls thrown his way. Boasting a league best 2.96 drop rate over the span of those three years.
This is quite a feat for Kevin Walter, everything about it says that Walter is as sure handed as wide receivers come. Walter signed a 5 year contract in March of 2010. You can count on it that Kevin Walter isn’t going any where any time soon. One thing that is troubling however its that over a three year span Kevin Walter has only had 169 catchable balls thrown his way. We would love to see that number come up to around 225 catchable balls thrown his way over the next three year period. That would average out to be 75 catches each year for Walter and if that happened then the Texans would have their other true number two wide receiver and the fan faithful wouldn’t have to clamor as much about getting Andre help.
From a fans vantage point its sometimes hard to see the true team through the emotion that comes with being so die-hard at times. I for one will tell the fans that our other options are already in place this season. The key is for the coaching staff to finally getting them to fire on all cylinders like many of us have been expecting them to do for the past two years. Offensively this team could easily lead teh league in points per game under the right circumstance.
I have wavered back and forth on the subject of addressing what I believed to be a need at the wide recevier spot but for the Texans next year seems more reasonable a time to address the position. Both Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter will both turn 30 and Jacoby Jones could only be around for one more season if Jones doesn’t end up a free agent this upcoming season once the NFL lockout is resolved. If Jones does bolt for more money in another city then rest assured the Houston Texans will be in the market for a veteran wide receiver if for nothing else but depth at the position.
If Jones stays then the silver lining in it all is that at wide reciver the Texans are set and the money they would have used to get a wide out to come to Houston can now be spent on the safety and cornerback positions. More money means more quality a player that could possibly be lured to the city of Houston. Even with a not so great class of projected free agent safeties on the market it could all change with a new collective bargaining agreement addressing years of service before free agency can be obtained by a player and it will be nice to have the money to spend in case that happens.
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