Johnathan Joseph has been instrumental in transforming the Texans defense into what it is today. Taking a chance at age 27 to join a team coming off of a third place finish in the AFC South with a record of 6-10. While the Bengals team he left was not any better, leaving a familiar place for somewhere new is never an easy decision.
When Joseph left to join the Texans, it was season where he played in 12 games and had a career low in pass defenses with eight. Any concerns about his ability were immediately forgotten when he turned in an incredible 2011 season. Appearing in 15 games, intercepting four passes and defending 18 passes.
A dip in production in the 2012 season was not expected. Appearing in 14 games, intercepting two passes, and defending 11 passes. One of the interceptions was returned for a touchdown. However this is not enough to overlook a rather disappointing statistical season.
Joseph rebounded in 2013 with a strong season. Defending 16 passes and intercepting three of them. Another good season in 2014 followed. Intercepting two passes, one returned for a touchdown and earning 11 pass defenses. 2015 saw Joseph’s best season in regards to pass defenses. Defending an incredible 22 passes over 16 games. Joseph finished with only interception in 2015, but the 22 pass defenses more than make up for that.
2016 is where the trouble starts. Appearing in only 13 games and starting only 11. Joseph put together his worst statistical season. Intercepting zero passes while only defending nine. While many veteran corners in the NFL are still productive past age 32. Houston is tasked with figuring out, is Joseph one of them?
While the Texans pass defense as a group was one of the best in the NFL last season, key departures and the age of Joseph create a cause for concern. The worst thing that can happen to a defensive unit is clinging on to a “has been” and letting him affect the productivity of that unit.
There is the possibility that Joseph rebounds and puts together an excellent 2017. If Joseph wants to continue playing in Houston past this season he is going to have to. Joseph is due to be an unrestricted free agent after this season. Joseph ultimately would like to stay in Houston, but depending on his performance, it may not be up to him.
If Joseph has a good season he will be in demand from the Texans. A season that leads Houston into the playoffs he will stay. Anyone regardless of age who contributes to a good defense always has a spot on a roster. However, if he struggles and the Texans have a bad season. He could end up being a casualty after the season in a series of cap clearing, youth embracing moves.