Houston Texans: Injuries continue to limit the secondary’s potential
The Houston Texans can’t seem to catch a break with injuries continuing to be a factor in who plays in the secondary.
The Houston Texans have been dealt a bad hand after bad hand with no solution in sight for the secondary. Johnathan Joseph, Lonnie Johnson Jr., and Bradley Roby have missed time due to injury, and it has cost the Texans’ defense. The Texans’ pass defense is ranked as the third-worst pass defense in the NFL by allowing an average of 272.4 passing yards per game.
All three of those players were penciled in to form part of the secondary after Week 1 with Johnson stepping as the outside cornerback with Roby replacing Aaron Colvin in the slot, but it hasn’t worked out that way due to injuries.
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Roby was arguably one of the best cornerbacks on the depth chart for the early part of the season but has missed four games since Week 6. Joseph missed Week 6, Week 8, and only played 13 snaps against the Indianapolis Colts as he exited with a shoulder injury in Week 7. Tashaun Gipson has also missed two of the last three games after he was projected to be the starting safety alongside Justin Reid.
Johnson Jr. missed Week 9 against the Jacksonville Jaguars being in concussion protocol but could miss some time moving forward with Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reporting that he was in crutches after leaving the Ravens game with a foot injury.
Texans have missed playing time from their top three cornerbacks on the depth chart, and it has resulted in them shaking up the roster to bring players to aid the secondary. Gareon Conley, Cornell Armstrong, and Vernon Hargreaves were late additions near the midway point of the season as a reaction to the injuries to the top of the depth chart.
It is too soon to say the Texans secondary is terrible with injuries dictating who plays on a week to week basis. The Texans have a four-game sample size with Joseph, Roby, and Johnson in the cornerback rotation and have gone 3-1 on that stretch. That trio of cornerbacks went against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Chargers, Carolina Panthers, and Atlanta Falcons.
The secondary allowed an average of 273.3 passing yards and six touchdown receptions in those four games. Although they conceded a fair amount of yards through the air, allowing six touchdown passes in four games isn’t bad with Joseph and Reid being the only starters returning in the secondary from last season.
There are plenty of red flags waving as the Texans enter Week 12 at 6-4, they lost against a playoff team in the Ravens, and have to improve in a hurry. Texans are stepping into the crucial stretch of the season where the contenders separate from the pretenders, and Houston has a lot of questions to answer after their 41-7 loss against Baltimore.
Injuries and inexperience have been the most significant components of the Texans’ struggles this season, and there is no way the chemistry improves in the secondary without health being there. Whether the Texans can get their players healthy is a legitimate question, and whether the chemistry can be there in time for a potential playoff run is also a concern.