Houston Texans: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – Linebackers
By Bob Dove
The Ugly – Only two things can cause worst case performance by the linebacker position. The starters are that good.
Injury can wreak havoc with any position group, but a group lacking depth is particularly vulnerable. One injury won’t do it, but if both Clowney and Mercilus, Cushing and McKinney or Watt and one of the outside linebackers go down the Texans linebackers will be in trouble. Disabling one inside and one outside starting linebacker wouldn’t be quite as bad, but arguing whether it is the worst of The Bad or the best of The Ugly would be a distinction without a difference.
If Watt takes much of the season to return to full speed the linebackers may be asked to do more than they are capable of doing. If their attack is undisciplined they can get gashed by both the run and the short pass. The D-line would be the problem, but linebackers could be the scapegoat.
If injuries happen, they happen. Every team and every position group faces that possibility. If Watt’s return is delayed The Ugly is not inevitable if the linebackers stay healthy. Good defensive schemes and a breakout year by Jadeveon Clowney can offset Watt’s absence for a while…but not indefinitely.
Next: What Are The Chances?