Houston Texans: 5 Biggest X-Factors entering the 2020 season

Gareon Conley #22, Lonnie Johnson #32 (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Gareon Conley #22, Lonnie Johnson #32 (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
5 of 6


Jacob Martin, Houston Texans
Jacob Martin #54 of the Houston Texans (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

2. Jacob Martin — Outside Linebacker

It remains to be seen whether or not Jacob Martin has done enough to lock down a starting role as an outside linebacker/edge rusher for Anthony Weaver’s Houston Texans defense, but his impact is sure to be felt this season.

After being traded to the Texans last offseason, Martin’s development was a slow process but his play surged in the back half of the year. Though his pure statistics don’t jump off of the page, his low usage rate shows that he was tremendously efficient considering the number of snaps he was playing. Out of 220 total snaps in the regular season, 175 of them came in pass-rushing packages compared to only 36 against the run.

Martin finished the season with 3.5 sacks, one forced fumble, three tackles for loss and seven QB hits, as well as another perfectly timed sack in the playoffs against the Buffalo Bills. When the pass rush unit is at full strength with J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus, Martin and newly drafted Jonathan Greenard, the potential for success skyrockets for the Texans.

The Houston Texans only totaled 31 sacks in 2019, tied for 26th in the league, Martin was third on the team right behind Watt. With a full offseason learning Weaver’s scheme and discovering his familiarity with his teammates, Martin can easily cross the five-to-seven sack plateau this season.