2013 Texans' Safeties Outlook
Patrick D. Starr
Trying to get the safety position under control, the Texans brought in one of the most decorated players in NFL history.
The biggest fish of the offseason free agent market for the Texans did not come without a price. Reed had hip surgery on a torn labrum that might keep him out for the beginning of the season. It is no secret why the Texans brought him in. It was to sure up a soft safety position in coverage. Reed, when he makes in to the field, will help the Texans mentally and in controlling the passing game. Don't underestimate the importance of signing Reed for the next three seasons. The future Hall of Famer could be a key piece to putting them over the top.
Outlook: Getting Reed ready for the stretch run is the most important thing for the Texans.
Last season issues with Manning in coverage were evident when he gave up a completion percentage of 72.3% (47 chances). He still has something to offer for this team, and if Reed can get healthy they could compliment each other well in Houston. Manning will be utilized more inside the box and using his speed in run situations will help. The Texans will have to put him in positions to succeed in coverage, but Manning still can help this team.
Outlook: Manning is still a good safety. Wade Phillips just has to get back to using Manning to his strengths.
As much as the fan base wants Keo run out of town, that is not happening anytime soon. Keo is a solid player only entering his third season in the NFL and is mainly used as a key special teams player. Ideally, the Texans do not want him to play at the safety position but sometimes injuries leave no options. Keo has slimmed down more for this season and him understanding the defense will only help him as a player moving forward.
Outlook: Keo will be on the team when camp breaks and should be there week one in San Diego.
Another player talked up by the coaching staff coming out of training camp in 2012, he was promoted to the active roster after a series of moves. Pleasant will be in competition with Keo for the final safety position, but his future lays in the health of Ed Reed. If Reed can get back soon, Pleasant may not be needed. But any question in Reed's health could help him.
Outlook: Pleasant is a solid roster player that could be a core special teams player. Only time will tell where he ends up towards the end of camp.
The drafted rookie from South Carolina, Swearinger brings the type of attitude that the Texans are not accustomed too. A hard hitter and solid cover player, Swearinger is a hybrid safety that can do a little bit of everything. Swearinger is expected to get time as the third safety, but with Reed being hurt he could be starting week one.
Outlook: He will be depended on heavily this season as a rookie, on defense especially.
The rookie out of USC looks similar to the departed Glover Quin and has the same playing style as him. Starling will be doing his best to make an impression to make it on the practice squad at this point.
Outlook: Starling will have to make some quick impact plays to catch the coaches' attention early in camp.
A freak athlete that is a tall 6-3 safety, which the Texans rarely have. Johnson is quick and can cover some ground in the back half of the secondary. Despite his measurables, Johnson is going to have to prove he can play physical enough for the NFL game. He could be a nice center field player for the Texans but being able to be more than a finesse player is the real question.
Outlook: He is currently on the Non-Football injury list and sounds like he did not pass his conditioning test.