This is not an article to press the panic button on the Houston Texans, but I am showing concern for some growing issues for them going into their game with the Steelers coming up this Sunday. The Texans are a different team than previous Texans teams and have beaten the two teams they should have and gave a good run at a NFC power in the New Orleans Saints.
There are some rising issue for the Texans that should be watched in the coming weeks because if they are not addressed it could cause some issues for the Texans run at the division title.
1. Lack of Outside Pressure- Besides Mario Williams the Houston Texans are in need of a spark to provide some much-needed heat off the edge to help the pass rush. 3-4 defenses are made off of pressure from the outside and there is none besides Williams, even though Connor Barwin has one sack to his credit, there hasn't been much else. Brooks Reed and Bryan Braman are the reserve outside linebackers, but they have provided nothing for the defense when they have come in. Williams and Barwin cannot take every snap of this long season, and when Williams had the scary knee issue the Texans pass rush diappeared. Where the Texans will need to find help, one can only wonder, but Williams needs help from the other side.
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2. Cute Play Calling- Many fans will point the finger at Gary Kubiak for the plays being called, but that lays in the hands of offensive coordinator, Rick Dennison. How many times when the Texans were in the red zone did we see the Texans lineup and try to run it in? Don't blame it on not having a big time full back or Arian Foster, the Texans seem to throw the ball with 4 receivers crowding the end zone. The Texans need to stay true to what makes them successful and that is running the ball. Tate had 66 yards going into the second half and was held to 16 yards on 7 carries in the second half, which the Texans threw the ball majority of the time. The Texans led the game majority of the second half and with passing it extended the game for Brees and the Saints. Yes Kubiak has the chance to override the play calls, but that is why you have an offensive coordinator to run the show.
3. Any Wide Receiver not Named Andre- I was ok with the Texans not bringing in someone else to give help in the opposite receiver spot of Andre Johnson, but this is causing issues for the Texans offense. Owen Daniels and James Casey are proving to be big in the passing game, but the Texans are lacking another wide receiver that can stretch the field and pull safeties from the middle of the field to give Johnson, Daniels and others to work the middle of the field. Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones are not weapons that opposing defenses are really worried about going over the top on them, but it today's game there is a need for a threat to stretch defenses.
The reason for this concern is the Saints made a big adjustment and took Johnson out of making big plays in the second half and the Texans relied on fullbacks and tight ends to make a difference in the passing game. With another wide receiver that has the threat to make something happen when he touches the ball, could provide even bigger numbers for Johnson, because teams cannot concentrate just on him. Arian Foster will relieve some of the pressure when he returns, but the Texans are playing with a handicap right now on offense.