On paper, the Texans secondary is not all that impressive. But this is a group that finished third in opponents passer rating in 2016 (79.3). This same group also finished second in passing yards allowed with 202.3. This could be attributed to the impressive pass rush from Houston, but the secondary is just as important.
There is going to be anadjustment period this season. A.J. Bouye and Quintin Demps have left via free agency. Bouye and Demps were key to the success of the secondary last season. Players that will have to step up this season are; K.J. Dillon, Andre Hal, Kevin Johnson, Corey Moore and Treston Decoud.
Joseph has been a mainstay of stingy passing defenses since he was in Cincinnati. He knows what it takes to cover the leagues best receivers. At age 33 in this upcoming season, this is going to be the beginning of what is referred to as twilight years. He will still be effective, however normal pass breakups will now be short completions. When corners age, they don’t want to give up the deep ball, they will settle for allowing short completions and making the tackle. Last season was his first year without an interception since his rookie season, which was 2006. A potential position change to free safety could be in the best interest of himself and the team so they can continue to utilize him properly.
Jackson has been a nice complimentary piece to Joseph, but lacks the ability to be a true number one corner. He is best suited as a number two corner. With only one interception and four pass deflections, he will have to step up and be a larger contributor for the Texans defense.
Hal is a young safety with who has shown the ability to defend passes. Starting 22 out of a possible 31 games the past two seasons, Hal has deflected 17 passes and intercepted 6. He is quickly showing the ability to make plays on the ball and be a great addition the back end of the secondary. As long as Hal is able to continue growing as a player he will be the safety for Houston for years to come.
If there is a potential “exhaust port on the Death Star” scenario with this secondary, it is at the other safety position. Dillon appeared in five games recording only one tackle. He has a lot to prove to keep his spot on the roster and is going to be in battling for a starting position.
Corey Moore is also in contention for a starting spot in the secondary. He accumulated 32 total tackles last season with three pass deflections. He started eight games for the Texans last season. Moore will be in a position battle for the starting spot this season.
Third year man Kevin Johnson is also in the mix for a secondary position. He has started 13 games in the past two seasons. Making 79 total tackles, deflecting 12 passes and intercepting one pass. He will be in the mix for a nickel corner spot this season.
Decoud, the rookie corner out of Oregon State performed well in his two seasons there. Appearing in 22 games, he made 108 total tackles, deflected 15 passes and intercepted two passes. He will have to perform well to aid a Texans secondary which will need production from all parties to account for their losses this past offseason.
Houston had a lot of success last season in pass coverage. Duplicating that this season will be a hard task to accomplish. With mainstays such as Joseph and Jackson, they will have the leadership to achieve this feat. They will have to mentor the younger defensive backs on the roster, which is something they are more than capable of doing. If would be foolish to expect exact results, however a good pass defense for the Texans this season is not out of the question.