Responsibility Falls on Front Office with Mario Out
Patrick D. Starr
With the unfortunate news Mario Williams is out with a torn pectoral muscle after recording his 5th sack in as many games Sunday against the Oakland Raiders, the Houston Texans are left scrambling for help at the outside linebacker position.
It is understandable that other players will have to fill the role of Mario Williams, but let's be honest rookie Brooks Reed can fill in admirably, but will not draw the attention Williams did. Also, with Bryan Braman and Jesse Nading sitting in the wings maybe in line to get snaps, the Texans outside linebackers are pretty weak after Connor Barwin and Reed.
The Houston Texans are at the point where they will have to look for outside help. This is where Rick Smith and his scouts have to do work and bring in some help.
To be honest the Texans should realize the problem at hand because after Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed's extended time against the Raiders, the Texans are thin at experience and playmakers on the outside of the defense. Braman has shown speed but other than that he is raw and has shown very little on the special teams side of the ball, and that is not a good sign for someone who might be needed to contribute on defense. (Trust me I am all for the Texans and if Braman succeeds I will write him an apology letter here on SOTT.) As for Jesse Nading, he lacks real speed needed at the outside linebacker position needed in the 3-4 defense and it showed during preseason.
There are some potential 3-4 outside linebackers on the free agent market and it will be up to general manager Rick Smith, Gary Kubiak and Wade Phillips to address this noticeable position of need. The front office needs to make moves to help this Texans team survive this plague of injury sweeping through the locker room right now, and bringing in some depth to help the defense. It will be interesting to see where the Texans go on from here.
With the likes of Tully Banta-Cain, Julian Peterson who can play the natural outside linebackers position are available, or Lofa Tatupu who was solid for the Seahawks in the middle and could bump Brian Cushing to the outside. The Texans could also look to deal a late round draft pick to trade for help. There are many possibilities that the Texans could choose, but it could all be a pipedream.
I know the Texans are in for a tough game against the Baltimore Ravens, but the front office is going to have to look hard and see if Braman and Nading give the Texans enough depth to compete for a playoff spot, those are two players who have too many question marks on ability. The Texans have a chance to add depth and soften the blow of the loss of Williams, but only time will tell if they are willing to look elsewhere for help.