When you think about the Houston Texans’ offense, you probably think of running back Arian Foster. Maybe you think of quarterback Brian Hoyer. Or perhaps you think about wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
One guy you probably don’t think of? Nate Washington.
Yeah, yeah. We all know about how good Hopkins is. Whether he’s making Odell Beckham-type catches or juking opposing cornerbacks out of their shoes, a lot of Texans fans expect him to be the future of our offense and be a star for years to come.
But Nate Washington provides a huge piece to the offense this year, in that he’s going to replace Andre Johnson.
Now I’m not comparing the two receivers careers in any way. Andre was the face of the Texans for years and years. He’ll probably (or most definitely) end up in the Hall of Fame someday. So what makes me think Washington can possibly replace Andre’s production from last year?
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Let’s start with some math. While Hopkins outshone Johnson last year in terms of yardage and touchdowns, Andre actually led the team in receptions, with 85. So what will happen to those 85 receptions this year?
A few will go to Hopkins, who could easily have an 80 or 90 reception season. But that still leaves between 60 and 70 catches unclaimed. While Cecil Shorts will also get some of the love, I think Washington is going to be the number two receiver in the offense.
I belive Washington is going to come in and be the sort of safety valve that an inexperienced QB like Hoyer is going to need. On third downs, Washington will be depended on to run solid routes and come down with catches in traffic.
Washington has always performed well as the second receiver, getting around 60 catches a season. That number would be easy for Washington to get to, while I expect Cecil Shorts to take Damaris Johnson‘s 30 receptions from last year (and then some).
Nate Washington is also valuable as a veteran. He’s been in the NFL for over a decade now, and he’ll be very useful for coaching the young wideouts on the team, especially the two rookies.
While he may not be the center point of the offense, Nate Washington still brings a great skill set and veteran leadership to the table. He should finish a good chunk of receptions, and will be a great target for Hoyer on third down. Make sure you keep an eye out for him come Sunday.