An insight into why the Packers passed on Will Fuller and the Texans

The Texans and Packers couldn't agree on a trade. Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Coming into the season, the Houston Texans had high expectations for Will Fuller. For the first time in his career, Fuller had an opportunity to prove himself as a top-tier receiver — given the absence of DeAndre Hopkins. While playing out the final year of his rookie contract, Fuller has flourished in his new role.

The 26-year-old wideout is on pace to record a career-best in receiving yards, while showing his improved durability playing in all seven games so far this season. Alas, Fuller's on-field production has not converted into wins for the Texans.

Houston enters Week 9 against the Jacksonville Jaguars sitting at 1-6 on the season. Their atrocious record led to the general belief that the organization would be sellers at the trade deadline. Among the many players projected to be on the move was Fuller.

Several teams around the league had their eyes set on making a trade for the Notre Dame prodigy, but none more so than the Green Bay Packers — who expressed interest in adding Fuller's services alongside their All-Pro receiver Davante Adams. A depleted roster and lack of draft capital would have resulted in most teams taking any deal to recoup some assets. But interim head coach Romeo Crennel refused to make any substantial offer for peanuts.

"I wouldn't even put the No. 1 wide receiver label on me," Fuller said. I feel like we all can get it done. I don't have any added pressure. We're just out there having fun trying to get a win."

In any potential deal regarding Fuller, the Texans were seeking a second-round pick in return. The lofty asking price is the motive to why the Packers organization disagreed on whether or not to make a move for Fuller during the final hours of the trade deadline — according to Dianna Russini of ESPN.

In hindsight, it made sense for the Packers to stand pat and not mortgage their future in a trade for Fuller. Had Green Bay sent a second-round pick to Houston, the Packers might have fallen short of getting equal value in exchange.

Fuller's durability has been the pinnacle of his success this season, but it doesn't erase the injury-prone stigma that has plagued his career thus far. In addition to his health, does the acquisition of Fuller put the Packers closer to holding the Vince Lombardi Trophy? Not really. Adding a playmaker like Fuller would have undoubtedly improved Green Bay's chances, but not enough to push the Packers ahead of the Buccaneers and Seahawks.

However, the Packers' most significant reason why they elected not to make a deal for Fuller may center round his pending free agency. With Fuller scheduled to become a free agent at the conclusion of the season, there is a high possibility that the fifth-year receiver could have been an end-of-the-season rental for the Packers.

Given all the uncertainties, the Packers felt it was more reasonable for them to pass on Fuller. According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, Green Bay was not the only team unwilling to pay the Texans' high asking price, as teams offered fourth and fifth-round picks for the Philadelphia native.

"I told him [Fuller] that I wanted him on the team, and I wanted all of these guys on the team," Crennel said during his media availability on Wednesday. "I did not want to trade anybody. Plus, I said I wasn't taking peanuts, and nobody came through with a deluxe nuts package. If there had been some deluxe nuts laid out there on the table, it could have been a different deal."

Coty M. Davis is a reporter for ESPN 97.5 Houston/SportsMap covering the Houston Texans. He is also the co-host of Locked On Texans, a part of the Locked On Podcast Network. Follow Coty on Twitter @CotyDavis_24.

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Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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