So we finally get the QB this town has needed for 15 years. How do we keep another David Carr situation from happening. Say what you will about Osweiler, and I’m as glad to see him gone as the next guy, but he never stood a chance behind that OL last season. No QB did. Maybe if you just signed Carlen Isles, and went 100% Wildcat. Is the NFL ready to bring back the veer? No. So, we gotta resolve the OL issues, to give Miller a better shot, and give Watson (or Savage, or Weeden, that’s another discussion entirely, but I personally am 100% Watson from day one) time to run an offense.
Which brings us to the meat of the issue; Who is the starting 5 OL for the Houston Texans on opening day? This picture is easiest told by who ISN’T going to be there. Starting RT Derek Newton.
This hurts doubly since he’s basically Duane Brown’s backup / replacement. Let’s be real… is Duane Brown still Duane Brown? He’d better be. But there’s now a giant vacancy at RT that will need to be addressed. It appears that the Texans are going to be counting on Journeyman tackle Breno Giacomini, formerly of the Jets, Seahawks, and Patriots. He seems fairly solid, if he’s fully recovered from his back surgery. At least it’s a body to fill the hole…
Let’s keep going. Nick Martin? Greg Mancz? There must not be a lot of confidence in either if they took Kyle Fuller from Baylor. Although, rumor has it he can play Guard too, he’s got the size for it. He has the long and lean build, with longer arms that suits the Pats / BoB offense. But 7th rounders aren’t going to step in and compete opening day. I guess you gotta consider C to be either Martin or Mancz, and we won’t know all that soon. But either way, that’s not a position of strength at this point. And a new QB is going to need consistency from the Center position. This is an issue they’re going to have to coach their way out of. Let’s move on to guard. Jeff Allen, they’ve put the money in him. Too bad his run blocking is atrocious. And Sua Filo, isn’t much better. I want to see these guys grow and solidify. I’d like to think that the work is already done from a personnel perspective. But it’s not.
Is there any legit feeling that the second unit has a shot yet? Can Kendall Lamm fill that vacancy at Tackle? Will rookie Julie’n Davenport be the day 1 starter? Is either of them the short term, or long term answer? Seems like the front office is going with yes. And there may be a bit of a history of that. Let’s take a look back at 2012. The Texans weren’t too bad that year, and the right side of the line was Ben Jones and Derek Newton. I miss Chris Meyers too guys. But I’m starting to think that maybe things aren’t as bleak as last year might have portrayed. There’s a bit of a fallacy in looking too focused at a unit in strictly names and numbers. These guys, whoever they are, are going to need to function as a unit, more than anything else. That’s where I see the guts of the issue. It’s easy to say the OL played bad, or graded out poorly. Any fool can see that. But HOW? That’s where the coaching challenge is going to come in. We all like to play fantasy GM and hire and fire guys hypothetically all the time. But here’s a dose of reality. We’ve got the guys that we’ve got, and this is what has to make a team. There’s a good OL in there somewhere.
My answer is this. Mike Devlin, you’re on the hot seat. Come strong, or else. It may not be an ideal group of guys. And there’s certainly some issues to overcome. But there’s not really any big time help in the veteran free agent market, and I can’t imagine they’re going to be making any more trades, unless they’re getting draft picks back for 2018. You got who you got. One aging, solid LT, and a lot of question marks. The plus side is, you’ve got some pretty solid blocking TE’s, and a fullback to help out. And let’s be real, D’Onta Foreman was a best available pick, more than intentional. Maybe that shoulda been an OT. But that’s not how Rick Smith saw it, and I think in a longer term view, he’s probably right. Besides, Foreman can lay down a block too. And he was almost 20 pounds leaner at combine than playing weight. This is a man to be taken seriously. I’m not in the habit of giving Rick Smith credit. I’m also probably still just giddy that we got Deshaun Watson. But I’m really pretty happy with day 2 of the draft from Rick Smith too. It says that he’s confident that Mike Devlin can solve the OL puzzle this year. In the end, time will tell. Mike Devlin, you’re on the clock.