There has been plenty to say about the Houston Texans’ offensive line, especially the right side of the 2012 line. There has been plenty of blame to push around for the Texans lack of success but we decided to look a little deeper into the offensive line from this past season.
We looked back to the 2009 season to do a good comparison of the Texans’ offensive lines for the past four seasons. We found a few interesting facts about the offensive line, especially in 2012.
Houston Texans, 2011 Offensive Line
Offensive Lines (Started at least one game)
2009: Duane Brown (16), Kasey Studdard (14), Chris Myers (16), Chris L. White (8), Eric Winston (16), Antoine Caldwell (3), Chester Pitts (2), Mike Brisiel (5)
2010: Duane Brown (12), Rashad Butler (4), Chris Myers (16), Wade Smith (16), Mike Brisiel (9), Antoine Caldwell (7), Eric Winston (16)
2011: Duane Brown (16), Wade Smith (16), Chris Myers (16) , Mike Brisiel (13), Eric Winston (16), Antoine Caldwell (3)
2012: Duane Brown (16), Wade Smith (16), Chris Myers (16), Antoine Caldwell (6), Ben Jones (9), Derek Newton (13), Ryan Harris (3)
Offensive Line Comparison
Note: the Red indicates that was the high for that category.
It is pretty apparent the fans and offensive run game was spoiled by what Mike Brisiel and Eric Winston did on the right side of the Texans’ offensive line in 2011. The two, Brisiel and Winston, cleared the way for some some impressive run game numbers, especially in 1st down and 10+ yard runs. It is no secret what they meant to the run game in Houston, and it was evident.
In 2011, the offensive line worked to finally find the right combination and give the team the best offensive line in team history. To say the 2012 offensive line will not get there is not a fair assessment, especially with them being on par with previous offensive lines in this offensive system.
The offensive line in the 2012 season did not look that bad in comparison to previous seasons, and really on average with what the Texans have done in previous seasons. There was not much of a fall off in pass protection when it came to the total of quarterback sacks and hits. The total number of negative runs hurt the Texans in 2012, but that is something that can be worked on entering the 2013 season.
The front office has set up the offensive line with cornerstones like Duane Brown and Chris Myers, and used Wade Smith to stabilize the left side of the line the past three seasons. Throw in the upside of Ben Jones, Brandon Brooks, Derek Newton and little known Cody White, the offensive line has some young blood in the system. Repetitions will make this group better. It took three seasons before Brisiel and Winston were side by side for more than 13 games in a season.
This process will take time but the offensive line has been given a bad tag this season, especially when it comes to them being the complete reason for the offensive faults. They can get better in the run game, but their pass protection was good enough this past season. The talent is there, now it is time to sit back and let them develop as a group before writing them off.
You can follow Patrick on Twitter. He is the Editor of State of the Texans.