Houston Texans: Analyzing dilemma at slot receiver

The Houston Texans have struggled at the slot wide receiver position this season.

This season the talent at the slot wide receiver position hasn’t been an issue for the Houston Texans, the main problem has been in terms of availability. The Texans have experimented with plenty of wide receivers at the slot position during head coach/offensive coordinator’s Bill O’Brien tenure with the team. At a certain time, Braxton Miller, Bruce Ellington, Keshawn Martin, Damaris Johnson among others were played in the slot to alleviate and create big plays in the middle of the field.

They failed to make a lasting impact on the offense and it led to their departure as the team continued to look for a long-term solution at the slot position. The Texans started the regular season with Ellington and rookie Keke Coutee at slot receiver, but injuries led the team to look beyond those initial two options. Ellington was placed on the IR and released weeks later with an injury settlement.

That move was made in mind due to the fact that Coutee had come into his own in his rookie season, he has 28 receptions, 287 receiving yards, a touchdown, and is averaging 10.3 yards per reception. The problem for  Coutee has been his durability as he has only played in six of the twelve games due to a lingering hamstring injury that dates back to the preseason.

The Texans were utilizing running back Tyler Ervin as the reserve receiver in the slot, but the team released him and claimed DeAndre Carter from the waiver wire during the bye week. Through four games he has eight receptions and 46 receiving yards. Carter was ruled out early in Week 14 against the Indianapolis Colts due to a concussion.

The Texans have been thin at the slot receiver position, Joe Webb III was utilized in the past in the slot due to injuries but it is a clear indicator of the confidence or the lack thereof that the Texans have in Sammie Coates and Vyncint Smith to step in an contribute. They will have an interesting decision to make as both of their options are currently injured, they could look outside the roster to add another receiver that can play in the slot.