Not too long ago the keys for the Houston Texans this week were entirely different. Quarterback Deshaun Watson was healthy and ready to lead his team at home against the Indianapolis Colts. However after yesterday’s practice and Watson’s season-ending injury, the keys for the Texans have changed.
1. Limit the Pass Attempts from Tom Savage
In Week 1 the world found out what Tom Savage is capable of, not much. Savage is a game manager and nothing more and the ball must be kept out of his hand as much as possible. This means limiting the pass attempts and putting the ball in the hands of their running backs. If the Texans get in a situation where they are playing catchup and Savage has to pass frequently it will not end well.
2. Utilize Lamar Miller Creatively
Lamar Miller will have to carry the load in the backfield. Miller will have help form D’Onta Foreman and Alfred Blue, but he will have to be the main workhorse. Previously Deshaun Watson would make an impact in the running game, but the same should not be expected out of Tom Savage. Miller will have to be called upon to make plays in the running game and the passing game.
3. Endure the Adjustment to the Offensive Scheme
With Deshaun Watson the Houston Texans were able to use similar concepts that he ran in college at Clemson. This offense made the absence of Duane Brown a non-factor. Brown returned last week and was subsequently traded this week due to the offensive ran in Houston. Now with Watson injured and Brown in Seattle, the offense is in danger of looking like it did in Week 1 when it surrendered 10 sacks to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Colts defense is not as talented as the Jaguars but without Brown and the athleticism of Watson, Indianapolis could have a field day against the Texans offense.
4. Count on the “Other Guys” on Defense to Make Plays
To say the Texans defense is banged up is an understatement. J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus are not coming back this season and last week Russell Wilson carved up the Houston defense. Jacoby Brissett should not be confused with Wilson, Brissett is not of the same caliber. However with how the amount of injuries sustained it appears that just about any opposing quarterback can have a field day. Jadeveon Clowney is the best defensive player on the field for the Texans and the offense will do everything they can to prevent him from making plays. It will be up to everyone else on the roster to make an impact while Clowney inevitably is double-teamed all game long.
5. Incorporate Will Fuller
Will Fuller has been making a name for himself on the season for the high amount of touchdowns on limited receptions. Seven touchdowns on 13 receptions to be exact. Fuller is averaging a staggering 21.5 yards per reception. It will be in the Texans best interest to involve Fuller more often and closer to the line of scrimmage. Savage is not the type of quarterback capable of pushing the ball down the field like Watson. Unfortunately down the field is where Fuller makes the defense pay. Shorter routes that allow Fuller to catch the ball and run will benefit the Texans offense and Fuller.
If the Houston Texans want to put themselves in the best position to win they must essentially keep the ball out of the hands of Tom Savage. Allow the other playmakers to win the game for the Texans instead of relying on Savage. Defensively the Texans must rely on the group as a whole instead of individual players. If the Texans can accomplish this they have change to win on Sunday.