Houston Texans Roundup: Zach Cunningham time to shine in 2019

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 31: Zach Cunningham /

One player whom everyone should be excited about with the start of training camp is Zach Cunningham of the Houston Texans.

The Houston Texans are at training camp, and though there are bigger stars on the roster, one must not overlook inside linebacker Zach Cunningham, as he’s coming off a nice year and continuing to work at his craft entering his third season.

Cunningham played 753 snaps in 2018, including 450 coverage snaps, 269 run defense snaps and 34 pass rush snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. Speaking of PFF, Cunningham graded at 65.6 in 2018, and during his rookie season he had a grade of 66.6.

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There is still a lot to work on from Cunningham as some of his numbers did drop from his rookie season, but that’s OK because for the ’19 season he’s going to have to showcase his skills and play better overall, though John McClain of the Houston Chronicle did project Cunningham as one of four inside linebackers to earn a roster spot for 2019.

Not only does Cunningham bring production for most plays on defense for the Texans, but he is strong at special teams too, which the Texans proved last season is a huge aspect of the game, though the most overlooked aspect too.

Every year the start of training camp is full of hope and optimism, and that includes Cunningham as this could be his breakout season with the Texans.

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Sean Pendergast of The Houston Press asked five questions before the start of training camp, and the following is one of the answers for a question about the offensive line:

"“At some point, they either need the right bodies to fix this thing, or offensive line coach Mike Devlin needs to develop these guys. I’m done saying ‘the offensive line will get better because it can’t get worse …'”"

Pendergast is correct because it is getting old with how the Texans’ offensive line is playing the past few seasons, and to be honest, there is no excuse for not having the proper protection for franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson. The better Watson plays should mean the better the offense plays, especially the offensive line. The o-line battles for the Texans this training camp will be fun to keep track of.

Jeff Ratcliffe of Pro Football Focus wrote about fantasy football and how the Texans wide receivers’ strength of schedule affects their matchups and the upcoming season, being one of the toughest:

"“As with Hill, ditto for Hopkins. He’s a stud, and you know that. However, fantasy expectations are high for Fuller and Coutee heading into the season. There’s a chance that one, or both, of them get off to a slow start with matchups against the Jags and Chargers in Weeks 2 and 3.”"

Yes, the Texans do have a tough schedule ahead of them early on, but if all three players are on the field and active at the same time, the wide receivers of the Texans should play strong because that is a very tough trio to defend at all times. All three have big-play abilities, but they are also going to have to respect their schedule and opponents, too.

Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com had a 53-roster projection, and one of the surprises is at wide receiver where DeAndre Carter and Vyncint Smith did not make the list:

"“The flexibility at the position should give two undrafted receivers a chance to beat out DeAndre Carter and Vyncint Smith. The Texans could look to add another veteran receiver before the regular season as well.”"

The Texans would be extremely smart to look at some veteran wide receivers to add to the overall depth before the start of the regular season. One player could be the recently released Allen Hurns, as he is recovering from a broken leg suffered last season while playing with the Dallas Cowboys.

The depth of wide receiver of the Texans is of great importance because they don’t want to end up in the same situation as they did a season ago when injuries to Will Fuller, Keke Coutee and Demaryius Thomas set the Texans back in the second half of the season.

Next. Texans: 4 players on roster bubble for training camp 2019. dark

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