Injuries Continue to Cloud Potential for the Texans
Get ready for another offensive line shuffle
The Houston Texans are set to shuffle their offensive line yet again as more injuries have hit them yet again.
Laremy Tunsil didn’t practice on Wednesday and I have officially pressed the panic button on Tunsil’s season. A knee injury popped up and now has him set to miss his third game of the season. I have serious concerns about when Tunsil will return and his effectiveness when he finally gets back on the field.
DeMeco Ryans said at the end of the week the team would know more about Tusnil, but don’t hold your breath.
Josh Jones has replaced Tunsil at left tackle for two games, and now he’s injured and missed practice on Wednesday as well. He has a hand injury.
So who is ready to see Austin Deculus or the newly signed Geron Christian protect C.J. Stroud’s blindside?
DeMeco Ryans has not allowed injuries to be an excuse for his team and his tone didn’t change on Wednesday.
“We’ll do whatever it takes up front to make sure we’re protecting,” Ryans said, “and Bobby [Slowik] and his staff have done a great job of getting better each week when it comes to the protection. No matter who is in there, it really doesn’t matter to us. It’s about stepping up and doing the job that’s in front of us.”
Pittsburgh has a great pass rush led by the league’s sack leader T.J. Watt. Now Watt primarily rushes the right tackle, so good luck George Fant. Watt’s Robin to his Batman is Alex Highsmith. Highsmith is no slouch and will be the assignment of whoever plays left tackle.
The offensive line hitting left tackle again adds pressure to everyone’s job. C.J. Stroud has to continue to make quick decisions without making a mistake. Bobby Slowik’s offense gets affected. The rushing attack can’t get anything going and a new tackle won’t help the situation either.
Next week might have the Texans closer to whatever version of full strength the line will allow them to be. Tytus Howard and Juice Scruggs could return from injured reserve and I suppose if you’re optimistic Laremy Tunsil will be back.
Stroud has been fantastic when he’s had time and been kept clean. The full potential of this offense can’t be unleashed until there is a belief this team can protect Stroud and get some push in the rushing attack.
The injuries didn’t crush the Texans last week, but the Steelers aren’t the Jaguars.
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Expectations vs. Reality
The offensive line the Texans expected to have against the offensive line they might have on Sunday is QUITE different.
Left Tackle: Laremy Tunsil - Austin Deculus
Left Gaurd: Kenyon Green - Kendrick Green
Center: Juice Scruggs - Jarrett Patterson
Right Guard: Shaq Mason - Shaq Mason
Right Tackle: Tytus Howard - Geroge Fant
I suppose at this point Shaq Mason deserves some props or has practiced the appropriate amount of voodoo to stay healthy.
Jalen Pitre Returns to Practice
The Texans got safety Jalen Pitre back at practice. The second-year safety has been down since halftime in Baltimore with a chest injury.
Pitre and veteran Jimmie Ward have played zero snaps together and let me tell you I am excited about the possibility of the two taking the field together on Sunday against a struggling Steelers offense.
Pittsburgh can’t run the ball well at all. They’re worse than the Texans in that department. Kenny Pickett, their quarterback in his second year, will throw you one. Pickett is coming off the “best” game of his career if you want to call it that. He finally threw multiple touchdown passes and had a quarterback rating of over 100.
Pitre had plenty of interceptions last season and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him get one on Sunday. He says he’s ready to go, but with the injury luck the Texans have had let’s wait until he runs out of the tunnel.
C.J. Stroud’s Humble Approach
I love the mentality C.J. Stroud has as the quarterback. There is a quiet confidence about him. He’s often self-deprecating or quick to shy away from the credit for success. Wednesday two pieces of video demonstrated that well.
The first was a question I had for Andrew Beck that turned into high praise for his quarterback.
Now here is the quiet confidence from Stroud when he was asked to elaborate on the mentality of the Steelers are good but Pittsburgh has to play the Houston Texans too.
It’s a great football mentality and there’s a little life lesson mixed in there too.