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Texans Should Be Leaning On WR Cooks

Despite injuries on offense, Texans believe there is enough talent to win

Mired in a two-game losing streak and trotting out a rookie quarterback is tough, but Houston veteran center Justin Britt said talent isn't an issue. The Texans can rely on talents like receiver Brandin Cooks to get on the right track.

"Cooks is a real underrated player," Britt said. "After seeing him during camp, the past couple weeks, he’s a really good wide receiver. He’s really fast, explosive, competitive and aggressive."

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Despite losing starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor and going rookie Davis Mills, Cooks has remained consistently dominant when targeted. Currently, Cooks ranks third in the NFL in both receptions (23) and receiving yards (322). Cooks is also second in the league in receptions for more than 20 yards with five.

And Cooks is just the start.

"Pharaoh (Brown) is a presence, that without him, we’d miss him for sure," Britt said. "I think bringing Danny (Amendola) in here was a big lift for us, and we can’t wait to get him back. Nico (Collins), he’s going to be a really good player. You can go on and on ... Chris Conley."

Tight end Brown has really come into his own since arriving in Houston last year. Bouncing between practice squads and recovering from injuries since going undrafted in 2017, Brown's physicality fits in well within Tim Kelly's offensive system. 

Amendola was a last-minute free-agent signing, as expected starting slot receiver Anthony Miller was recovering from a shoulder injury. Amendola's experience allowed him to find a role in the offense quickly, although he joined the walking wounder hurt in the Week 2 loss to the Cleveland Browns.

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Collins, a rookie, also was injured against the Browns in what looked like a breakout game for the former Michigan Wolverine. Despite the setback, he has impressed his teammates since his arrival and has all the tools to be a staple in the lineup once healthy.

Conley is another reliable, rangy target that will become more valuable as teams look to contain Cooks in the coming weeks.

So with these pieces, and others, what's holding this offense back? Britt and his teammates have "a lot of trust" in Mills at quarterback. 

The key, he said, is consistency.

"We’ve just got to find a way to play four quarters [the way] we want, and just sustain it and keep it going," Britt said.

Over three games, the Texans have totaled 553 yards and 47 points on offense during the first half. That drops to 422 yards and 20 points the second.

That's not sustaining.

That drop in productivity is both in and out of the team's control, from offensive scheme changes to injuries. Finding the ability to sustain offensively is crucial if the Texans hope to get back on a winning path.

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