The NFL is a league full of change but for the Houston Texans' secondary there is stability that is not often seen entering year three. The Texans prior to 2011 were known for a soft secondary and suspect as a defense, but that has all changed. Johnathan Joseph, Kareem Jackson and Brice McCain will enter their third season together as the top three cornerbacks for the Texans in 2013. Add in Brandon Harris and Roc Carmichael, the depth is there for the defense.
The Texans' defensive backs have been criticized in 2012 for their lack of production after a solid performance in 2011. The lack of a real pass rush did not help the cornerbacks and add in the injuries to Joseph (groin) and McCain (foot), it slowed the talented group. Brandon Harris and Roc Carmichael both garnered some key playing time with the injuries in 2012.
Key Stats for Texans Returning Cornerbacks
958 snaps , 109 targets/61 completions, 56% completion rate against, 12.2 yards a completion, 2 TDs against
1142 snaps, 107 targets/51 completions, 47.7% completion rate against, 14 yards a completion, 5 TDs against
461 snaps, 55 targets/31 completions, 56.4% completion rate against, 15.5 yards a completion, 3 TDs against
239 snaps, 28 targets/14 receptions, 50% completion rate against, 19.1 yards a completion, 1 TD against
43 snaps, 6 targets/3 receptions, 50% completion rate against, 20 yards a completion, 0 TDs against,
Kareem Jackson and Johnathan Joseph both stated that bringing back Brice McCain was good for the team. The three, plus Harris and Carmichael, have been together for three seasons and looking forward to little change.
Jackson said this of McCain and Joseph,
"Feels great and being here three years together. We are always on the same page and we come out here and work together. Being here three years together means a lot."
McCain said this of the trio,
"We are all close and we have been through it all together. We are a tight-knit group and it is cool growing with them."
"We are like brothers. We do everything together on and off the field. We have each other's back and support each other in any way we can."
It is not often to keep a group together like the Texans front office has done with the secondary and this year could prove big for the group. On the field and during OTAs, the cornerbacks are always together working with position coach Vance Joseph. It is a site to see the competition they bring to the practice field everyday and how much they push the passing game of the Texans.
Adding the Last Piece
The Texans secondary will probably add one more young cornerback to the secondary from the UDFA rookies they have in camp for the 2013 season, A.J. Bouye, Travis Howard and Johnny Adams. This will add another young piece to a deep group of cornerbacks.
Since Wade Phillips arrived in Houston in 2011, the Texans have carried six cornerbacks and this season should be no different. The three rookies have had six practices with the team (3 rookie mini camp, 3 OTAs) and early signs have pointed to Bouye who has made a quick positive impression on the coaches and teammates.
We talked to veteran Johnathan Joseph about any of the young guys he has noticed,
"A.J. (Bouye), one of the young guys, has been making plays out here since day one and he has been catching my eye."
Training camp will help separate the younger guys, but it will be something to watch moving forward because one of the rookies has a realistic shot at making the 53 man roster.
The Texans cornerbacks are one of the strengths on this team and the group is tied up together for at least another season.
Jackson signed through 2014
Carmichael signed through 2014
Harris signed through 2014
Joseph signed through 2015
McCain signed through 2015
The group has grown together as a group and with the addition of Ed Reed and veteran Danieal Manning back, the expectations are high for the 2013 season. If the secondary can stay healthy, it could be really a strength of the defense. But the pass rush has to improve to help the cause.
It has been a site to see the secondary at the start of OTAs and how they have pushed Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins early and harassed the quarterbacks. It is very early but this could easily be the most under appreciated position group for the Texans.