I shared my opinion of the offense so it’s only right I give my opinion of the defense. The 2019 Houston Texans defense have a different makeover from last season. The unit has lost some key pieces in the offseason, including Kareem Jackson, Tyrann Mathieu, and Andre Hal. Losing key pieces in the secondary will never be easy. However, here are my expectations for the 2019 Texans defense.
Defensive Line: J.J. Watt, Angelo Blackson, D.J. Reader, Joel Heath, Brandon Dunn, Carlos Watkins, Albert Huggins, Javi Edwards, Walter Palmore, Johnny Dwight, Charles Omenihu, Ira Savage-Lewis.
Of all positions on this defense, I believe that this group is set. It all begins with big 99 J.J. Watt. After two years of season ending injury, Watt finally played a full season and finished with 16 sacks. There’s no reason not to believe he’ll have another strong season in 2019. D.J. Reader will be manning the middle of the defense and stuffing the run defense again. Also the Texans have good depth with Carlos Watkins, Joel Heath, Angelo Blackson, Charles Omenihu, and Brandon Dunn.
ILB: Zach Cunningham, Benardrick McKinney, Dylan Cole, Tyrell Adams, Peter Kalambayi, Drew Lewis, Xavier Woodson-Luster
OLB: Jadeveon Clowney, Whitney Mercilus, Brennan Scarlett, Davin Bellamy, Jamal Davis, Chris Landrum, Jessie Aniebonam.
The Texans have one of the best LB tandems in the NFL with Cunningham, McKinney, Clowney, and Mercilus. This group is not only strong in stopping the run but also offers value in pass rush as well. Both McKinney and Cunningham finished with 100+ tackles last season and is set to have another prime year. Having depth such as Peter Kalambayi, Dylan Cole, Brennan Scarlett, and Tyrell Adams is important as well.
CB: Johnathan Joseph, Bradley Roby, Aaron Colvin, Johnson Bademosi, Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Deante Burton, Xavier Crawford, Lonnie Johnson Jr., Derrick Baity, Jermaine Kelly Jr.
S: Jahleel Addae, Austin Exford, Tashaun Gipson, A.J. Hendy, Chris Johnson, A.J. Moore, Justin Reid.
This is the group that concerns me. Do the Texans have talent in the secondary? Absolutely. Talents such as Johnathan Joseph, Eric Reid, Bradley Roby, Tashaun Gipson, and Aaron Colvin should not go unnoticed. However, there were games where the secondary got absolutely maimed last night. They even made average Qbs look like Aaron Brady. They added other pieces to the group such as Xavier Crawford, Lonnie Johnson Jr., Derrick Baity, and Briean Boddy-Calhoun. Will they make a difference this season? It’s hard to imagine that they will.
Last season, the Texans ranked 12th in total defense, 28th pass defense, and 3rd in run defense. They also finished 4th in total points allowed. With Qbs like Thomas Brady, Pat Mahomes, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Nick Foles, Phillip Rivers, and Derek Carr on next seasons schedule, it will be very tough on the defense. They will face many high powered offenses, and they don’t have enough talent in the secondary to handle them. I expect them to be ranked 18th-25th in pass defense, followed by being in the middle tier in points allowed. The front 7 will be solid still, and should produce one of the best run defenses in the NFL. There will be a great amount of pressure on their pass rushers to consistently sack the QB, or else the secondary will have a long season. To conclude, I expect the Texans to be ranked in the middle tier of NFL defenses.
That’s it for me. See you next week!