The Good – For the receiving group to exceed expectations two wide receivers must emerge and a tight end must become a threat to the middle of the defense to take pressure off DeAndre Hopkins. There are capable candidates with a variety of skills and blazing speed, but each has something to prove.
Veteran Cecil Shorts has proven talent, but he must stay healthy – the same old story about the most important ability being availability. Jaelen Strong improved steadily late last season, and results from OTAs and minicamp are very encouraging. Will Fuller has blazing speed, but his hands and pattern execution are suspect in some circles. Braxton Miller is explosive but raw having only one year of collegiate experience as a wide receiver.
The Texans talk about the improving receiving skills of the veteran tight ends is the same as last year’s when performance fell short. True, the 2015 tight end receiving numbers would have been better if Ryan Griffin had been healthy all year, but more than “better” is required in 2016. I expect there must be production from the undrafted Cal rookie tight end or, more likely, from a situational running back or wide receiver filling the role of a tight end for the tight end position to step-up in receiving performance.
More from Toro Times
- Houston Texans: Can Sean Payton really be the next head coach?
- Houston Texans Draft: Michael Mayer should be a no doubter at pick 12
- Houston Texans already telling fans the Davis Mills era is over
- Houston Texans have hand forced, waste no time in firing Lovie Smith
- Houston Texans: Pros and Cons of keeping Head Coach Lovie Smith
If receivers are to exceed expectations Jaelen Strong and Cecil Shorts must start strong. Will Fuller must make enough big plays in the first few games that he bumps Strong to the slot and Shorts to a back-up role for the remainder of the season. As the season progresses Fuller must consistently take the top off the defense reducing the number of double teams DeAndre Hopkins sees.
Braxton Miller will be limited to specialty packages and four wide receiver sets early in the year, but he must earn significant playing time by year-end including filling the tight end role in obvious passing situations. As a group the tight ends must become more effective receivers so safeties can’t cheat toward DeAndre Hopkins and defenses can’t read tendencies by their absence.
A lot must occur if the receivers are to achieve The Good, but there is a lot of talent and a lot of combinations that make it possible. This could be a formidable group by playoff time.
Next: The Bad