The Houston Texans are set to roll out Chris Clark as the starting right tackle at the beginning of the 2017 season. With the limited amount of starts under his belt, is he the solution for the immediate future of the Texans?
During the 2016 season, there appeared to be a challenger to Clark as the starter. Derek Newton has played both the right tackle and right guard positions. However Newton tore both patellar tendons during a week seven game last season. This has essentially ended his 2017 season before it even started.
Clark was part of a line that paved the way for one of the best running games in the NFL. However the amount of times Clark has been a starter compared to when has been a backup is an area of concern. Clark has started only 45 out of 96 games he has appeared in, this less than 50 percent. At 31 years old, there is not going to a breakthrough moment for Clark where he suddenly becomes a top offensive lineman. Clark is what he is at this point in his career.
For a team that ranked 24th in running behind the right tackle and 16th running around the right end, there could be trouble brewing. Clark is not a reliable run blocker and it shows. Even paired with 14 game starter Jeff Allen, the offensive line was not productive as it should have been. Running plays between the guards ranked 17th. Kent was not able to be a productive guard aid the running game. With only average play from the guards and below average production from Clark, the running game suffered on the right side.
With the question marks surrounding Clark and Kent, the Texans are in trouble. Clark has been productive enough to stay in the league. However he has not been productive enough to be a long term starter. Clark is likely to remain the starter in Houston. This is due to the relative lack of competition on the offensive line in Houston. This is not because of the overwhelming talent of Clark.