Uncertainty is not the word that the Texans want to hear in regards to their secondary. However this is a reality. A reality that could impact the success of the Houston defense.
Andre Hal will miss an undermined amount of time after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Hal was the Texans starting safety for the majority of the last three seasons. In his time as a starter Hal intercepted nine passes and is considered to be a very productive part of the Texans secondary. Now without him Houston will have to adjust to two new faces and a player who is in a new position.
Tyrann Mathieu came to Houston on a one-year prove-it deal. When healthy Mathieu is a premier defensive back and can shut down just about any receiver. The key words however are when healthy. Mathieu has fought injuries over the past few seasons and has not played to the level that he is able to. While Mathieu has not missed a lot of games, the injuries have noticeably impacted his play. There is a huge difference between a healthy and not-healthy Tyrann Mathieu. If Mathieu can stay healthy he can bring the Houston defense to a level that not many expect.
As mentioned above a player is now playing a new position. That player is Kareem Jackson. Jackson is an eight year veteran and has appeared in 116 games as a cornerback. For the 2018 season this will not be the case. Jackson has transitioned to the safety position due to struggles last season and to help in the absence of Hal. Jackson should be able to provide at least adequate production from his new position.
The final name worth mentioning is rookie Justin Reid. Houston selected Reid in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Eventually Reid could become a prominent player in the Texans secondary. The cycling out of other players and Reid adjusting to the NFL game should have the rookie taking over the starting safety position relatively soon.
What is the uncertainty with the Texans?
Tyrann Mathieu has battled injuries over the past few seasons. If injuries continue to be a recurring theme with Mathieu it is possible he is more of a liability in the defensive backfield.
Kareem Jackson is playing a new position. Learning a new position and playing it well is not easy. For Jackson it will be imperative for him to learn the nuances of his new position as soon as possible.
Finally Justin Reid is a rookie. If Reid contributes that is a bonus, however a lot of rookie defensive backs struggle and that could be the case with Reid.
It is entirely possible that everything falls into place for the Texans and there are no issues. However it is just as likely that everything goes wrong and the Texans defense again underperforms and is one of the worst units in the league.