This Sunday, the Buffalo Bills will be looking to string together their first winning streak of the year when they take on the Houston Texans. We spoke to Chris Watkins from Battle Red Blog for a scouting report on the Texans. Chris talked about everything from the health of the team’s quarterback to his thoughts on whether the team will make a move ahead of the trade deadline in a couple weeks.
1) How important was it for the Texans to come out of the Cowboys game with that overtime victory?
Frankly, it was the season. Even though the Jaguars and Titans only have three wins, if ever there was a “must win” in Week 5, this was it. It put the Texans somehow one game off the pace in the AFC South and helped to build confidence that the Texans can get this thing turned around after such a horrific start. Really the resurgence started in Week 4 when the Texans returned to more of the offense that worked so well in 2017. I still have no clue why Bill O’Brien insisted on extending the offense’s preseason three games into the regular season, but here we are.
2) Is there any reason to be concerned over the chest injury Deshaun Watson is dealing with?
Absolutely. It’s no secret locally or nationally that Watson has been getting thrashed both due to poor offensive line play and to his own recklessness. Specifically in the win over the Cowboys, the offensive line had by far its best performance of the season in terms of protecting Watson - but suddenly Watson was putting himself at risk by not throwing the ball away and not sliding on runs. Couple that with some questionable designed-run play calls and it’s no exaggeration to say Texans fans know it’s a “when” scenario and not “if” Watson misses extended time due to injury.
3) What has been the glaring weakness on the team so far?
I have to give you three. In no particular order 1) The offensive line play. It’s been decent run-blocking and also terrible. It’s been terrible pass-blocking and also average to below average. Plus they’ve had a different starting lineup for each of the first five weeks if I’m not mistaken. 2) The secondary has been a MESS. The unit had its best game of the year by far against the Cowboys, but of course the Cowboys currently do not have a plus QB and they may be the least talented WR corps in the NFL. 3) Bill O’Brien. Confounding play calling, head-scratching clock management, questionable challenges (and non-challenges), lack of aggressiveness in obvious scenarios that call for it, and above all - the above-referenced flip back to the offense that better suits Deshaun Watson over whatever-the-hell was happening in weeks 1-3.
4) With the trade deadline a couple weeks away, do you see the team looking to make any moves?
I do not. It’s never been this team’s M.O. and I don’t expect that to change this year. If anything they could make a very minor move for the offensive line or secondary, but I doubt even that will happen unless they feel like they can get something for JD Clowney - but they would be NUTS to move him, in my opinion.
5) Aside from Hopkins v White, is there another matchup you are looking forward to seeing?
The Houston pass rush against the Bills O-Line/Josh Allen. I saw some VERY ugly numbers about Allen’s effectiveness when he’s under pressure - dead last in the league if I’m remembering correctly (Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, Chris is remembering correctly). The Texans will be coming after him HARD, and Houston is pretty good against the run so I’m not too worried about Shady and Ivory getting a ton of yards, especially after how the Texans bottled up Ezekiel Elliott.