Will Texans rookie Derek Stingley Jr. be challenged by Justin Herbert in Week 4?

Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

The Houston Texans will need rookie cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. to have a standout performance vs. the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 4 for the team to gain their first win of the season.

Through three games, the folks at Pro Football Focus has the rookie cornerback graded at 46.0 (out of 100) through the first three games. The website has him at 14 solo tackles, and he has allowed 12 receptions on 21 targets against him in games against the Colts, Broncos and Bears.

Last weekend against the Bears, the Texans rookie Stingley had three solo tackles, one QB hit, and he played 63 snaps on defense. Stingley this season has collected three passes defensed, one sack and 18 combined tackles.

Looking at some more stats this season, Stingley allowed 84 air yards in Week 1 against the Colts (13 targets, eight completions), and that number went down to 65 yards in Week 2 against the Broncos (11 targets, six completions). Then last Sunday against Chicago quarterback Justin Fields, Stingley was only targeted once, allowing no receptions.

Texans: Why Derek Stingley Jr. is must-watch in Week 4 vs. Chargers

With the status of Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert improved from the start of the week as he continues to battle a rib injury, it should be expected the quarterback of the Chargers will be playing in the game. That said, Los Angeles wide receiver Keenan Allen missed practices this week and has been ruled out for the Week 4 game at NRG Stadium.

So who will Stingley match up with on Sunday? That leaves Mike Williams as the top receiver for the Chargers this weekend, followed by DeAndre Carter, Jason Moore Jr. and Joshua Palmer as others listed on the LA depth chart.

Williams in ’22 has 11 receptions for 138 yards and two touchdowns. Last Sunday in the loss to the Jaguars, Williams totaled one reception for six yards, but it went for a touchdown.

That is a good news, bad news situation for Stingley because he’s going to have to be targeted more than he was last weekend because Williams will be the best wide receiver option on the field for Herbert with Allen being injured.

That means maybe for Stingley, the challenges of facing one of the best young quarterbacks in all of the NFL will only make him better.

Stingley has a chance to have another strong effort, with that either being having such good coverage on Williams (or whichever player he covers) that Herbert will think twice before challenging the rookie, or if Herbert does challenge Stingley, it will be a way for the rookie to win the battle with passes defensed, or even better, maybe his first career interception.

Either way, Stingley in Week 4 is the top player to watch for Texans fans against Los Angeles as his play could determine how the rest of the defense plays in Week 4.

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