Special Teams and Coaching must improve to win the AFC South.
Special Teams – The Texans special teams were a mixed bag in the first half. Punting and kicking were good, kick-off coverage a little less so, but acceptable. However, punt coverage was spotty ranging from very good in some games to dangerously bad in others. It generally lacked consistency making every punt an adventure.
As Coach Larry Izzo has time to install his concepts and philosophies the coverage teams should improve. Keeping players healthy is another important part of gaining consistency. Look for a better overall performance from Texans coverage teams in the second half.
Coaching – The offensive coaches, specifically Bill O’Brien and George Godsey, have to trust the talent in the second half. They coached the first half as if they were managing the pedestrian quarterback carousel of past years with only a single receiver capable of making plays and very ordinary running backs. Dink and dunk. Don’t make mistakes. Keep things close and count on the defense.
If Brock Osweiler is the quarterback the Texans thought they signed, Lamar Miller is a race horse and Will Fuller and Braxton Miller along with DeAndre Hopkins are big plays waiting to happen then why is that not reflected in the game plan and the play calling. If the players are as touted they will flourish in an aggressive game plan. It’s time to find out if they can execute. Take the training wheels off. Let’s see what we have.
Talented players are stifled by predictable, overly conservative play calling. How many third and long draw plays does it take before it is clear that the play callers, not the players, are failing? How many four-yard passes will we throw on 3rd and seven before we trust talent enough to open things up?
We can’t lament receivers not getting open when defensive backs can sit on all the short routes because the Texans are overly conservative. I know, Osweiler was 4 for 24 on passes over 15 yards in one recent stretch. But if the coaches only call chunk plays when the game situation requires chunk plays any quarterback is going to struggle.
In a recent post I predicted a 3-5 second half. That’s what it will be if second half performances mirror the first. The record improves if players and coaches step-up. Pressure is squarely on the shoulders of Bill O’Brien, George Godsey, Brock Osweiler, DeAndre Hopkins and an undiscovered defensive lineman who has to come out of nowhere. Good luck Texans.