Here is how the injury to Keke Coutee should remind the Houston Texans of how thin they are at wide receiver.
The Houston Texans will have arguably the best trio of receivers in the league heading into this season with the trio of DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller and Keke Coutee. If those three stay healthy, the Texans will be unstoppable in the passing game as each can do different things well.
Fuller is a great deep ball threat, Coutee is great in the slot and underneath routes and Hopkins is the best wide receiver in the league, giving quarterback Deshaun Watson three wide receivers with varying skill sets.
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It’s a bit lofty to expect Fuller and Coutee to stay healthy for the entire season in 2019. Health has been the biggest challenge so far with each of them in their careers up to this point. In fact, Fuller has never played a full 16 games in any of the three seasons he’s been in the NFL, plus he’s coming off an ACL injury.
Coutee has only played in six games in the regular season, and he missed the final six games of the regular season of his rookie year in ’18 with hamstring issues.
Because of the previous injury history of Coutee, it is no surprise he got injured in the first game of the preseason against the Green Bay Packers.
The injury history of both Coutee and Fuller provides further proof of why the Texans need more depth at receiver, and they really didn’t achieve that during this past offseason.
Head coach Bill O’Brien recently noted how the Texans don’t have depth outside of Hopkins, Fuller and Coutee as he questioned the Texans receiving corps outside of that trio.
One improvement could be the addition of running back Duke Johnson, who could play in the slot if Coutee’s injury woes continue. That’s not ideal as Johnson is a matchup nightmare out of the backfield for opposing linebackers, which is where Johnson is needed most.
Vyncint Smith is also a down the field threat at receiver, but we’ve not heard O’Brien talking much about him in camp either. The Texans have even used third string quarterback Joe Webb at receiver in the past due to his versatility, but like with Johnson, that isn’t ideal.
DeAndre Carter is returning from injury which could help the receiving corps and the return game as well. The Texans also will have several options to choose from between Steven Mitchell, Tyron Johnson and Jester Weah depending on how many they elect to keep on the roster at the conclusion of the preseason.
Hopefully one or two of those players can emerge, as the Texans need depth considering the injury history of Fuller and Coutee. If they don’t, the Texans might be forced to add a veteran wide receiver like they did at the trade deadline last season.