The play of Houston Texans tight end Darren Fells has been outstanding this 2019 season, and to be honest, it was unexpected.
Going into the season the two Houston Texans tight ends who were supposed to — or at least were needed — to stand out were Jordan Akins and Jordan Thomas. Thomas was injured in the fourth and final week of the preseason with a broken rib, and Akins has stood out at times this season, but the player who needs praised is Darren Fells.
At tight end this season, Fells has made some very nice blocks, as that was one of the reasons he’s made the team this season. With the injury to Thomas, Fells has seen a lot more playing time than expected, and for that his play hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Following the Week 9 win by the Texans over the Jacksonville Jaguars, head coach Bill O’Brien spoke about Fells, who was a free agent signing this past offseason. O’Brien said the following about Fells in postgame media transcripts proved by the Texans:
“I think the more you put good plays on film, I mean, I don’t know how you could, I mean, he is a good pro. He’s a big guy, he’s very mature, he’s very smart, he’s a great teammate. He just wants to do everything right. He’s really a great guy to coach.”
O’Brien also said this of Fells following the win over Jacksonville:
“Fells has been good. Fells has come in here since the day he arrived here and been very coachable. He’s a guy that really does a good job blocking, has gotten better and better in the passing game. Really just does everything we ask him. He’s just a very mature guy, a guy that really helps that room and he’s done a real good job for us.”
This season, Fells has 24 receptions for 245 yards and six touchdowns. He’s also averaging 10.2 yards per receptions, and looking at the numbers, one-fourth of Fells’ receptions have been touchdowns.
Currently in his sixth season — his first with Houston — Fells played his first three seasons with the Arizona Cardinals (2014-16), followed by a season with the Detroit Lions (2017), a season with the Cleveland Browns (2018) and now the Texans.
In nine games with Houston, Fells has one catch of over 20 yards, and 15 of his receptions have been for first downs.
Even with those solid numbers, the veteran tight end has been even more productive with his blocking skills, as it is evident the sack numbers of Deshaun Watson are a little down from last season, and the rushing numbers for Houston aren’t too bad either, which Fells has been a big help with.
Following the win against the Jaguars before this bye week, Watson spoke highly of Fells as well, saying the following in the postgame press conference:
“How does it feel? It’s amazing. Just kind of throw the ball in his direction, he’s going to make plays, he’s going to catch it, strong hands. Football IQ is very, very high. And he’s just, he just makes those incredible catches. I’m blessed to be able to play with a guy like him and have a teammate, a brother like him and he makes my job a lot easier.”
Fells has been a pleasant surprise not for his blocking, but how he’s been catching big-time, important passes this season.
The Texans should be very thankful at this bye week they have Fells on their roster, and with the second half of the season coming up, it will be interesting to see if Fells can continue or even exceed his current level of play.