Will Fuller's Presence Continues to Keep Defenses Honest for the Houston Texans' Offense
Patrick D. Starr
The Houston Texans continue to evolve as an offense, but it is a better group with wide receiver Will Fuller on the field. Fuller has helped Watson with his presence in the lineup with the offense averaging .74 yards per play when he is on the field.
Helping in both the passing and rushing attack, Fuller manipulates defenses on how they want to defend him, and that opens up looks for the offense.
Fuller has helped Head Coach Bill O'Brien build an offense that features Fuller's ability to take the top off a defense with his speed.
"He adds a dimension to the offense that helps in both phases," O'Brien said of Fuller. "I mean, obviously in the passing game, it's obvious how he helps us. He's a good route runner, he's got great speed, but then that can help in the running game, depending on how they play the side that he's aligned on. It can help you run the ball over to that side a little bit better. Yeah, there's a lot of things that having him in the lineup does to help the offense."
Quarterback Deshaun Watson has been a beneficiary of the presence of Fuller and how his speed changes games. Watson throws an extra touchdown and 65 passing yards per game with Fuller lined up wide.
Watson and Fuller have built a deep ball combination that is tough to match, especially with how well the two work in tandem. Watson knows Fuller's speed is a true difference-maker.
"You have to respect it," Watson said of Fuller's speed. "You have to respect everything that Will is capable of doing, especially speed, because that's one of his best traits."
Watson understands just like O'Brien that Fuller changes defenses ability to defend the run or pass snap to snap.
"Like you said, not just in the pass game," Watson continued. "If you want to include the run game, it puts the DBs and safeties back a little bit more, you know, for run fits. So, instead of gaining – if a safety is supposed to run fit and be in that gap, instead of gaining three yards, the running back's gaining seven, and those four extra yards are big. Especially with this day and age of football where defensive front are very, very stout in the run game. It really opens up a lot of different things."