The Houston Texans and general manager Nick Caserio have made many changes to the roster this offseason, and one player who has managed to stay on the roster is wide receiver Keke Coutee.
Currently, the Texans have 12 wide receivers on the roster, with Coutee most likely being a reserve receiver entering training camp later this month. Coutee has played the past three seasons with the Texans, joining the franchise in ’18 as a fourth-round pick.
Injuries and just being listed as inactive by the Texans has really hampered the career of Coutee. There have been flashes of brilliance with the receiver as his NFL debut saw him have 100-plus receiving yards. He’s even caught for 100-plus yards in a playoff game, but overall there is so much more to want from Coutee.
The 24-year-old Coutee is on the final year of his rookie contract and will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the ’21 season, meaning this is most likely his last chance to prove to the Houston Texans that he’s able to be a productive and consistent member of the roster moving forward with the current rebuild.
How does something like that happen for the inconsistent Coutee who has played in just 23 of 38 games in his three-year career? In those games he’s collected 941 receiving yards on 83 receptions, with four touchdowns.
This past season, Coutee played in eight games, where he finished with 33 receptions for 400 yards and three touchdowns, all of which were career-best numbers. The Houston Texans receiver achieved that in just eight games.
Coutee also has value on special teams, returning punts and kickoffs in ’20. Coutee finished last season with seven punt returns for 48 yards and five kickoff returns for 97 yards.
Looking at his ’20 season his best game was against the Indianapolis Colts on Dec. 6 as he ended the AFC South contest with eight receptions on nine targets for 141 yards, including one catch of 64 yards. Though he didn’t have a touchdown reception, Coutee averaged 17.6 yards per catch.
His second most productive games was in the season finale against the Tennessee Titans, where his final stats included six receptions on seven targets for 90 yards and no touchdowns. Coutee averaged 15 yards per reception.
In all eight games Coutee played in ’20 for the Houston Texans, he had no less than two receptions, and he was targeted no less than two times in each of those games as well. The question is not only is this the last chance for Coutee in Houston, but if he’s able to play a majority of the season, exactly how good can he be?
Houston Texans: Moving forward with Keke Coutee in 2021
There is so much potential with Keke Coutee in each game, it is still hard to figure out why everything hasn’t clicked for him on a more consistent basis. Granted, some injuries have caused problems for the Houston Texans wide receiver over the past three seasons, but he’s also been a healthy inactive due to former head coach/general manager Bill O’Brien making that decision.
When it comes to Coutee, this isn’t saying he should start over a player like Randall Cobb, but Coutee can, should and has been used at times in games to make big plays, which that is what needs to be seen more of in ’21.
Whether Deshaun Watson or Tyrod Taylor is under center for the Texans this season, or whomever the starting quarterback might be, for Coutee, he needs to be the player who makes a big splash with his speed and helps change the game for the Texans offense.
Coutee can be a momentum changer for the Houston Texans in ’21, and there is no better time for him to show that ability on the football field than in the final year of his contract with the franchise.
If Coutee can stay off the inactive list in ’21, he can prove he is a productive player for the team on game day more than just a couple weeks each season.