This is the third part of our SOTT Mid Season Report card and we will run through every position group for the Houston Texans. We focus on the wide receivers and tight ends in this post and give our thoughts on the position group.
The Pass Catchers Grades
Andre Johnson: Just having Johnson on the field has made the Texans so much more of a complete team, and throw in the respect teams have for him, he still remains one of the top targets in the AFC. Johnson was not targeted often early in the season but he has been a main staple of the offensive game plan the past three weeks. If you watch what defenses do to contain him, they rarely leave a corner back by himself without help over the top from a safety. He still looks like he may be trying to trust his body at times, but he looked a little stronger against the Buffalo Bills breaking tackles and getting up field with the football. The next eight games could be exciting to watch and we have a feeling that Johnson will be an even bigger factor heading into the late part of the season.
Kevin Walter: One of the players that has benefited from a healthy Matt Schaub, Walter has been pretty impressive this season. He not only can block but he has been pretty steady in the passing game. He showed against the Denver Broncos he can still take the top off a defense when necessary, but he still impresses when the football is near him and he makes the catch. He is the epitome of a possession wide receiver but he proves his worth week in and week out. The jokes of him being a one trick pony should be put to rest for some time now and appreciate what he is doing as the 3rd best option in the passing game.
Keshawn Martin: We may be a little harsh, but Martin has failed to make a real impact in the passing game. He is penciled in as the 3rd wide receiver and comes in as the slot option on the Texans three wide receiver sets, but he has been nothing more than a route decoy. He showed some pass catching ability in mop up time against the Green Bay Packers, but with speed like his he needs the ball thrown at him more. If you watch him on the field in routes, he puts so much pressure on opposing defenses with his speed and quickness, and with so much hope from the preseason he has been a slight disappointment. Now given the return duties, Martin has more to worry about than just the offensive game plan. Hopefully, he can break out of his funk and get involved with the offense with the ball coming his way.
Lestar Jean: He looked promising at the beginning of the season providing a big target for Matt Schaub, but after suffering a meniscus injury he has been nonexistent. He will get his handful of snaps but is another player with plenty of hype surrounding him this off-season that has failed to make a real dent in the offensive game plan. Jean is a big bodied possession wide receiver that can give the Texans a real height advantage on the outside, but Walter has him supplanted on the bench. It will be interesting to see if Jean can get any real snaps as the season moves on.
DeVier Posey: Another rookie learning on the run, Posey has gotten about as many snaps as Jean has gotten since Posey became active. He really has been a non factor and it’s tough to be critical of him because of his lack of playing time. Posey has the skill set to make a mark in the NFL and it is up to the Texans to bring it out of him.
Owen Daniels: Daniels has been nothing short of amazing for the Texans this season and he has been a touchdown machine. The other player that has benefited the most from Schaub coming back healthy has to be Daniels, and he knows how to make life tough for linebackers covering him. He has been Kubiak’s go to receiver in the middle of the field and has taken pressure off Johnson to be the only threat in the passing game. Throw in some opportune blocking in the run game and Daniels has actually looked better than expected. He is one of the potential pro bowlers the Texans currently have on their roster.
Garrett Graham: Hard to know what the Texans were going to get out of Graham this season but he has been a blessing for Owen Daniels’ resurgence as a top tight end in the league. Graham’s ability to handle the workload when Daniels needs a break is huge. The offense does not have to change with Graham in the game as the primary tight end and he has improved in run blocking since week one. He has shown he can be a pass catcher when needed and he made a big play against the Buffalo Bills beating safety Jarius Bryd for his first career touchdown catch. Graham has silenced some doubters, like us, proving he can be a capable NFL tight end.
Be on the lookout for the other report cards coming out later this week.
You can follow Patrick on Twitter. He is the Editor of State of the Texans.