Every year as rosters are filled across the NFL, surprise cuts take place. The Houston Texans could potentially be a team that has one of those surprise cuts. The team's 53-man roster is close to being set with one preseason game left on the docket, then comes the mad rush to claim players heading toward week one of the games that count.
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The NFL continues to be a young player’s league and that is the line Bill O’Brien is selling with the punter competition, putting NFL legend Shane Lechler in a heated battle with rookie punter Trevor Daniel. Lechler is averaging 43.8 yards per punt with a 38.6 net average while the younger Daniel is averaging 48.3 per punt (6th in the NFL) and his 43.6 net average ties him for 4th this preseason in the NFL. On production alone, Daniel has outperformed Lechler and it hasn’t been close this preseason.
The numbers game is real and most NFL teams do not want to pull the plug on second-year players. However, Treston Decoud has been taking a back seat to both Kurtis Drummond and Corey Moore during the preseason on defense, despite outperforming Moore on special teams by totaling 3 tackles to Moore’s 2. The Texans could still give Decoud time to develop but the final spot is coming down to special teams more than anything which leaves the final preseason game an important one for Decoud.
The Texans have a good problem with the depth their depth on the defensive line. The team is working to determine where Joel Heath sits in the big picture and this battle is something to watch. Heath has appeared in 25 games (15 starts) over the past two seasons since arriving as an undrafted free agent from Michigan State prior to the 2016 season. He has been a strong force in the Texans base defense at defensive end, but with Carlos Watkins and Angelo Blackson getting work before Heath, there might be reason to be concerned. All three defensive linemen have done enough to be on the roster but if it comes to numbers, Heath could be on the outside looking in.
Two familiar faces on the Texans offense last season could be on the way out in Stephen Anderson and Bruce Ellington. The Texans were not happy with the tight end group in 2017 and after C.J. Fiedorowicz retired, they decided to get younger and more athletic. With the Texans drafting both Jordan Thomas and Jordan Akins, that has pushed Anderson completely out of the picture. No longer getting work with the 1st or 2nd offenses, it is clear the Texans have made a clear choice on who their top three tight ends are moving forward. Many will not agree with the Ellington situation but here are the facts to this point: rookie Keke Coutee was drafted in the 4th round, was instantly listed as the starting slot wide receiver when OTAs started, and was still there when training camp kicked off. The only reason Ellington was put back at the slot was because Coutee was injured with a hamstring issue. Most will point to Braxton Miller beingon the outsbut he has been asked to learn all three wide receiver spots to be the primary back up. That was evident when he started across from DeAndre Hopkins on Saturday against the Los Angeles Rams. If Coutee was inserted into the offense from the start, there is no reason to think that the Texans will wait to make this move over Ellington.
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