The Texans have plenty of good they would like to carry over from the Chargers win
Offensive line and second down success here to stay?
3 Headlines, 2 Questions, and 1 Bet as the Texans are 2-1 readying themselves for Kyle Allen and the Panthers.
Offensive line stands out for the right reason
The Texans new look OL played really well today. Tunsil is an elite player and the 2 rookies represent a massive upgrade from previous personnel.— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) September 23, 2019
Daniel Jeremiah is the Chargers color analyst for radio as well as the top NFL draft analyst for NFL Network. He was really impressed with the Texans offensive line which featured rookie Tytus Howard at right tackle and rookie Max Scharping at left guard.
The improvements were clear. Yes, Deshaun Watson had a few times where he had to use his magician-like escape powers to get away but the cold hard stats don't lie.
Week 1 at Saints: 6 sacks and 11 QB hits
Week 2 vs Jaguars: 3 sacks and 7 QB hits (Worth noting four days later Jacksonville had NINE sacks in a game)
Week 3 at Chargers: 2 sacks and 6 QB hits
The rushing game lacked consistency and success but the line has shown the ability to get it going already this season.
Last year I opined for the Texans to put together a game where the line did two things well. Most games last year featured acceptable run blocking OR acceptable pass blocking. Even if they had put it together for one game in 2018 it wouldn't have looked good, just average.
The top end for this offensive line is higher than any Texans line since they had multiple Pro Bowl linemen in Duane Brown, Chris Myers, and Wade Smith.
"Everybody got thrown on yesterday"
Most Yards Allowed in Coverage— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) September 23, 2019
[All Cornerbacks, 2019]
1. Marshon Lattimore (334)
2. DeAndre Baker (296)
3. Janoris Jenkins (287)
4. Johnathan Joseph (279)
5. Vernon Hargreaves (236)
When I asked O'Brien about Johnathan Joseph getting targeted a lot in the second half, his response covered his whole secondary.
"I mean, everybody got thrown on yesterday," he said. "When you play Philip Rivers and you have the receivers that they have, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, (Travis) Benjamin. I think everybody was targeted at some point in time. He did a good job spreading the ball around."
O'Brien was confident Joseph would clean up any mistakes that he shouldn't have made in the game.
"I think J-Jo he's been a great pro here for a long time. I think that he'll watch the tape and he'll know there are certain plays that he can improve on just like everybody."
Some of these plays, Keenan Allen makes on anyone. There are still times when Joseph gets a little too far off a wideout for it to be comfortable to watch. It will be interesting to see if defenses start attacking him earlier in the game because the Chargers seemingly found him later rather than earlier.
Joseph did pass Terrence Newman for third all-time in passes defended. He is 12 away from Ronde Barber and 18 away from the all-time leader Champ Bailey.
Lonnie Johnson played "decent" according to O'Brien. The head coach harped on Johnson's use of his hands downfield and how he needs to focus on cleaning that up in his game.
Second down success
The Texans under O'Brien have been historically conservative if first down doesn't go their way. Just two weeks ago they ran a draw play on 2nd and 11 in Saints territory when they were trailing by just three.
Against Jacksonville though they were more willing to throw, but possessed varying levels of success in doing so.
For Watson to have such an incredible day throwing on second downs when the yardage would be considered long, that's a great day for him and a testament to where the Texans feel they can go on offense. O'Brien finally has enough pieces, and protection, he can rely and trust his team to take these risks and make big plays.
"Running the ball was tough yesterday," O'Brien said.
He mentioned they run a unique rushing attack and with that they see a lot of exotic looks against them in trying to stop the run.
O'Brien said the defenses they saw yesterday had them adjusting their second and long gameplan to what we saw and praised the team for executing it well.
Will this offensive line start again this week?
The Texans practiced in the preseason with Tytus Howard almost always on the left side and Max Scharping almost always on the right side.— Cody Stoots (@Cody_Stoots) September 22, 2019
So now they do this. Goodness. https://t.co/1awyKggSBT
I was very skeptical about the Texans starting offensive line. I was concerned with the lack of work those players had received at the positions they were playing on Sunday but both held up well.
O'Brien explained Monday each Max Scharping at left guard and Tytus Howard at right tackle worked at those positions in some fashion ahead of the week leading up to the Chargers. He mentioned their work up to this point had been affected, to some point, by injury. He also said adding Laremy Tunsil took any need for Tytus Howard's left tackle work to continue.
As for going forward, barring injury, it seems.
"Max (Scharping) played pretty well. Tytus (Howard) played pretty well at the right tackle spot. This is the way we're going to go right now I think these guys are gelling pretty well together."
What will the Kyle Allen show look like in his second start of 2019?
Panthers ruled out QB Cam Newton from Sunday’s game against Houston due to his foot injury. Another start for Kyle Allen.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 23, 2019
Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen looked every bit the part of starter as he diced up the Arizona Cardinals yesterday to the tune of four touchdowns on 19/26 passing totaling 261 yards. That, however, is the paltry and poorly coached Cardinals defense. They were atrocious in trying to stop Allen.
Allen was benched at Texas A&M and after transferring and becoming the starter in Houston he was benched again. He went undrafted before signing with the Panthers. He played well in one start last season before leaving with an injury. Then, suiting up for Newton Sunday, had the above mentioned performance.
Though not a rookie, he has a rookie-like setup to his career so far. He has played very little. Historically Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel has blasted first-time starters. Gardner Minshew had some success in week two late against the Texans but even then the Jaguars only scored 12 points.
I bet that sack felt as good as almost any sack in J.J. Watt's career
J.J. Watt split two sacks and had one of his own for a two-sack performance on the day. It was the 30th time in 107 career regular season games Watt had at least a sack. That's almost 30 percent of his career.
Watt had not shown up on the stat sheet a ton through the first two weeks. In fact, last week I mentioned it was statistically the worst two-game stretch of his career. Well, he got going plenty on Sunday and for the Texans sake, I hope he keeps it going.