Houston Texans: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – Receivers
The Bad – DeAndre Hopkins is so good and the other receivers so promising that high expectations are built into my 10-6 regular season prediction. Because of the high initial expectation, underperformance isn’t all that bad if the quarterback and offensive line groups meet expectations.
There are several things that could lead to underperformance of the receiver group. If Jaelen Strong regresses or Cecil Shorts gets hurt early in the year the young receivers will be pressed into service before they are ready to carry a full load. Underperformance by raw young receivers would hurt quarterback efficiency and lead to more conservative play calling including a higher dependence on the run.
If the true tight ends don’t prove they can be counted on to make key catches people like Braxton Miller, Lamar Miller or Tyler Ervin will be substituted situationally. That’s okay in those obvious down/distance situations where a pass is expected, but problematic in mid-distance run/pass situations where substitution of a wide receiver or running back for a traditional tight end may tip the play call.
If the receiver group underperforms there will be more reliance on the running game. However, even an underperforming receiver group should remain explosive enough that defenses won’t totally sell-out at the line of scrimmage. If the offensive line meets expectations the running game will be effective. Scoring may be down slightly, but time of possession will be up when compared to a high octane passing offense.
That is why The Bad for the receiving group is not all that bad. 10-6 is still reachable, but a little harder to achieve.
Next: The Ugly