Texans: Look for sharp drop in sacks allowed on offense in 2020
The Houston Texans are primed to rebound when it comes to their pass protection in 2020 — thanks largely to their pair of starting tackles.
Despite an impressive 10-6 record and a run to the AFC Divisional Round of the 2019 NFL Playoffs, the Houston Texans failed miserably in one crucial category last season: consistently protecting their quarterback.
Among postseason qualifiers, only the Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson took more sacks last year (48) than the 44 sacks Deshaun Watson took.
For comparison, here were the number of sacks suffered by the other playoff QBs from last year:
- Josh Allen (Buffalo Bills) – 38 sacks
- Carson Wentz (Philadelphia Eagles) – 37 sacks
- Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers) – 36 sacks
- Jimmy Garoppolo (San Francisco 49ers) – 36 sacks
- Ryan Tannehill (Tennessee Titans) – 31 sacks
- Kirk Cousins (Minnesota Vikings) – 28 sacks
- Tom Brady (New England Patriots) – 27 sacks
- Lamar Jackson (Baltimore Ravens) – 23 sacks
- Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs) – 17 sacks
- Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints) – 12 sacks
It’s clear from analyzing this list that the Texans need better pass protection of their superstar quarterback in 2020 — especially if they want to take that next step and compete for a conference championship (and hopefully a Super Bowl, too).
Enter Pro Bowler Laremy Tunsil and second-year ascending star Tytus Howard.
Tunsil looks like a rock at left tackle for years to come — and Bill O’Brien should be proud of himself for acquiring Tunsil (and Kenny Stills) from the Miami Dolphins.
Howard was extremely impressive as a rookie before he landed on injured reserve at the end of last November. He started eight games last year: seven at right tackle and one at left guard.
Barring injuries, Tunsil and Howard seem locked in at their respective tackle positions (left and right) this year. Both should challenge for Pro Bowl honors in 2020 — and they will be key to preventing opposing defensive ends and pass-rushers from getting to their quarterback.
Quarterback Deshaun Watson will also do more to avoid taking sacks in Year 4
Speaking of, Deshaun Watson can do his teammates a favor as well and work on getting the ball out of his hands faster this season. His average time-to-throw last year ranked 21st among quarterbacks who took at least 128 pass attempts in 2019, per NFL.com’s Next Gen Stats.
Assuming Watson can get the ball out to his playmakers faster — and assuming Tunsil and Howard can stay healthy and effective — expect the number of sacks allowed by the Houston Texans offense this year to plummet … which would be terrific news.