GAME BREAKER

Let's discuss 1 playmaker the Texans defense can't afford to sleep on against KC

Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans return to Arrowhead Stadium for the first time since bowing out to the Kansas City Chiefs 51-31 in the divisional round of the playoffs last year. The Chiefs had no issues lighting the scoreboard up led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes' electrifying 5 touchdown performance. However, the prevailing thought surrounding the Chiefs offense entering 2020 is that the defending champs might be even better on that side of the ball because of the addition of first-round draft pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire out of LSU.

The 5-7, 207 pound shifty running back rushed for 1,414 yards and 16 touchdowns last season to go with another 55 receptions for 453 yards and one touchdown as a receiver out of the backfield helping LSU win the National Championship. Despite being a rookie, trying to contain Edwards-Helaire on defense won't be easy. One of the challenges in preparing for Edwards-Helaire is the fact that without any preseason games the only film the Texans have on Edward-Helaire is his college tape.

"We had to go back and watch college tape because of no preseason games," Texans Defensive Coordinator Anthony Weaver said. "He is a very talented back. He's built low to the ground, but he runs tough. He runs tough and strong and he's very good out of the backfield... He reminds me a little bit of Darren Sproles, which obviously Andy (Reid) had in Philly. So, it'll be interesting to see how they go about using him."

In the National Title game against Clemson, Edwards-Helaire rushed for 110 yards and caught five passes for 54 yards. Texans Head Coach Bill O'Brien took notice.

"Obviously, he did a great job at LSU with Joe Burrow last year. I mean, they set records," O'Brien said. "Their offensive output at LSU last year was in another stratosphere.

Add Edwards-Helaire to the list of offensive weapons that the Texans are going to have to deal with if they are going to shock the NFL world and win in KC as 9.5 point underdogs.

"Look, he's a guy that can run it, he can hurt you out of the backfield," O'Brien said. "He's a part of an offensive system now in Kansas City that's a very dynamic one. We're just going to have to do as good a job as we can of knowing where he's at, how they're trying to use him early on and do as good a job as we can."

Jake Asman is a national host on SportsMap Radio. You can listen to The Jake Asman Show weekdays from 8 AM - 10 AM Central.

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Life after Correa may not be the worst thing. Composite image by Jack Brame.

Carlos Correa is having a damn good year. The Astros shortstop is hitting .285 with 24 homers, 87 RBI, 72 walks, .862 OPS, a 7.2 WAR, and a .981 fielding percentage. In any other year, those would be numbers worthy of being in the mix for AL MVP (if it weren't for that dastardly Shohei Otani). Correa is also in a contract year. He and the Astros were far enough apart that the season started and he's held true to not wanting to negotiate midseason.

The offers of six years for $120 million and five years for $125 million were both rejected by he and his camp. They're seeking something much longer and for more money on the annual average. With the team unwilling to meet those demands, it seems as if the team and the player are headed for a split.

Lots of Astros fans are not happy with the prospect of Correa leaving via free agency. Some think the team isn't doing enough and should pony up to bring him back. Some feel Correa should take what they're offering because it's a fair deal that'll allow the team to sign other players. Then, there's that small band of us that are totally okay with him leaving.

One of the main reasons I'm okay with him leaving is the players the team still has under control that are potential replacements. Aledmys Diaz and Pedro Leon are the first two guys that come to mind. Diaz is a 31-year-old vet who's stepped up when he's called upon. He can slide over to third and allow Alex Bregman to play shortstop. Leon is the team's 23-year-old hot prospect who signed as an outfielder that the team has been trying to turn into a shortstop. If Correa were to leave, he could instantly plug the hole Carlos would leave behind. Either of those options lead to my next point of being okay with Correa leaving which is to...

...allocate that money elsewhere. Whether it's signing a replacement (at short or third), or boosting the pitching staff, I'll be fine as long as it's money well spent. Signing a shortstop or third baseman would determine where Bregman would be playing. If said player takes significantly less than Correa and fills 70-80% of his offensive shoes, it'll be worth it. Others will have to step it up. If they find a deal on a top of the rotation starting pitcher, that would be ideal as well. As I stated a couple of weeks ago, this team has employed a six-man rotation, but doesn't have a true ace. Spending anywhere from $20-30 million a year on a top-notch pitcher to add to the staff would bolster this staff in more ways than one. It'll finally give them the ace they lack, plus it'll bump all the young talent (still under team control) down a peg creating depth and perhaps even creating bullpen depth.

The only way any of this works is if Correa isn't back. Zack Greinke and Justin Verlander's money comes off the books also. Freeing up that much payroll and not re-appropriating those resources to ensure this team stays in contention would be a first degree felony in sports court. I don't think Jim Crane wants that for this team. I for sure don't think James Click wants that as his legacy. Let's sit back and watch how the organization maneuvers this offseason and pray they get it right.


Editor's note: If you want to read the other side of the argument, check out Ken Hoffman's piece from Tuesday.

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