In any game, there are certain points of application. If you get beat 44-26 and your opponent scores 41 points in the first half, there are many points. Here are some of the lessons we learned about the Texans in week seven:
1. Ryan Mallett has no place on this, or perhaps any, roster
Remember when Mallett missed practice after Brian Hoyer had been named the starter in the preseason? Yeah we all do. Maybe there was more to that story than he just overslept. We don’t know what happened and I think all of us have overslept before, but missing a flight to a game takes it to another level. I am not sure at this point if Mallett has given up on the team or given up on himself, but if his former offensive coordinator can’t work with him, I’m not sure which head coach can.
Nov 23, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Ryan Mallett (15) reacts after a play during the second quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
In the 2011 draft, I thought Mallett was a first round pick. He had all the arm talent you could ever want. But he fell to the third round, and it looks like there was more to that than I thought. I knew he had some character issues, but I didn’t think they’d keep him from falling all the way to the third round. After the Patriots dealt him, I thought he was ready and they were doing him a favor by giving him a chance to start, because they knew he wasn’t going to ever start in New England. Well, looks like that is not the case.
I think Mallett has Johnny Manziel syndrome. I just don’t think he is capable of taking criticism. Nobody gets catered to in the NFL. In college big man on campus quarterbacks do. Now that that’s gone, I don’t think Mallett can cut it.
2. The running game won’t get any worse without Arian Foster
I know this might make some people shake their heads, but when you looks at the numbers it really shouldn’t. Foster was averaging a paltry 2.6 yards per carry so far this season (163 yards on 63 carries). Alfred Blue has 234 yards on 60 carries (3.9 yards per touch, tied with Jonathan Grimes for the top in yards per carry). As a team, the Texans are last in the league with 3.4 yards per carry. This was supposed to be a smash mouth, grind it out type of team. Instead they are turning into a team that has to throw to win. Brian Hoyer is not the quarterback you want to play that style.
It’s not to say no Foster will make things better by any means. But maybe this will provide DeAndre Hopkins a chance to win the receiving yards title this season, he’s currently 46 yards ahead of Julio Jones for that distinction.
3. J.J. Watt isn’t having a down year by any means
Through seven games he has six sacks, which considering he plays DE in a 3-4 and has limited help around him, is still pretty darn good. He also has 35 tackles, nine run stuffs and five passes defended. If only there were a way to clone this guy, just have about five of him rotating in and out on the defensive line…it’d be unstoppable. Carlos Dunlap, Michael Bennett (of the Seahawks) and Chandler Jones are all just .5 sack ahead of Watt.
Sep 27, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
It’s amazing he has 63 career sacks in basically four and a half years in the league. If he plays nine years at this rate (meaning nine total seasons), he’ll have 126 sacks, which would place him 17th all-time. If he plays for 15 years at this rate, he will finish his career with 210 sacks, which would break Bruce Smith’s career record of 200.
4. The secondary STILL needs improvement
I don’t know how long I’ve been saying this, but nothing ever seems to get done about the secondary (just like the Cowboys, must be a Texas thing). Despite being 15th in yards allowed per game through the air with just 242, they allow 7.6 yards per attempt, which is tied with four other teams for tenth worst in the league. Those numbers have also been inflated by playing the putrid passing offense of the Chiefs, Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers and Matt Hasselbeck when the Colts came to town.
To be fair, the secondary is not totally to blame. Watt has six of the team’s 13 sacks. Nobody else on the team has more than two. Jadeveon Clowney has just one. I know he has been hampered by injuries, but that excuse can’t hold forever. He has start getting results sooner rather than later and show why he was a #1 overall pick.