Midseason Report Card: Secondary

Patrick D. Starr

Here are the report cards for the Texans secondary.

Allen and Joseph
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Kareem Jackson just seems to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, we personally think he has a good enough skill set to contribute on game days. He can do all the things that corners need to do in the NFL , but lacks the instincts when the ball is in the air. He grades out at a C- and he better get it together or he will be left out of the rotation.

All Jason Allen does is make plays and he has 3 interceptions to show for it, and his great play earned him a B+ so far this season. His one knock was the big play he gave up in the Raiders game, but he has sealed two games for the Texans with interceptions late in the game. It is time for the Texans to make their playoff push and put Allen where he should be the starting corner opposite of Johnathan Joseph.

Brice McCain has been solid in the slot coverage for the Texans and had a pick 6 against the Titans which was the icing on the cake in that game. McCain’s ability to not give up big plays in the middle of the field had proved vital in the Texans pass coverage game, and he is not a bad tackler either. He is a perfect fit at the slot and has found a place in the Texans new look defense.

Has there been any bigger addition to a Texans roster than Johnathan Joseph? All he does is make all the secondary players around him better. With 3 interceptions and 26 total tackles Joseph is a complete corner and is proving to be the biggest free agent pick up of 2011. Joseph can hit and cover as good as any corner in the league and his play making ability puts one side of the field on lock.

Sherrick McManis is returning kicks and Brandon Harris is getting limited work on special teams. Harris’ development is going to be key and the lockout put him behind in the learning process and the Texans should look at this year as his red shirt year.

Quintin Demps took the place of the injured special teams star Dominique Barber. Both have been limited on the field but Demps gave a good game on limited practice this past Sunday against the Jaguars. Look for Demps to be a big part of the nickel package for the Texans. The reason Demps is in the mix is the lackluster adjustment Shiloh Keo has made to the NFL. Keo is perfect for special teams and after his performance against the Titans it was time to fins help. It is to early to write the book on Keo, but keeping him on special teams only is the most important thing for the Texans to do with him.

Danieal Manning graded out as an A for us because of his ability to make interceptions but the bigger factor was his tackling from the secondary. His speed to get sideline to sideline made him dangerous at free safety and with his injury status (broken tibia) up in the air, the loss of Manning could be big.

Luckily the Texans have 3rd year safety Troy Nolan taking Manning’s place and his first start of 2011 was a good one. Nolan has a knack to make big plays and he was the third safety in nickel packages, so he was getting game snaps this season. The transition to starter should continue to go good, he just needs to be a sure tackler in run support.

One big disappointment for us has to be Glover Quin and his progression at safety. We gave him a C+ but he has been just there in the secondary. He has been ankle tackling which is not acceptable from the safety position. He had trouble early in the season in the coverage game and gave up some big touchdown passes. Quin has progressed slowly but he has to establish himself as a safety for the Texans with more playmaking ability.