Wednesday, January 15, 2014
What went wrong? Receivers
While we've named this series "What went wrong?" that's not to say every position underperformed.
As the offseason progresses, we take a look at the various things that went wrong for the Texans last season and caused a fall from 12-4 and back-to-back division titles to 2-14.
We've already examined safeties, running backs and inside linebackers. Now we take a look at receivers.
Key players: Andre Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins, DeVier Posey, Keshawn Martin, Lestar Jean
What went wrong: This is a difficult position to evaluate given the Texans' turmoil at quarterback. The injury- and coach-induced oscillation between Matt Schaub and Case Keenum affected the chemistry both quarterbacks had with receivers. The two receivers most impacted by that were the two most heavily used -- Hopkins and his tutor, Johnson. The two worked well together, and while some raised their eyebrows when Hopkins said he wanted to be better than Johnson, that's exactly how Johnson taught him to think. Johnson still left his footprints all over NFL record books on his way to another 1,400-yard season. Hopkins, meanwhile, had a solid rookie season. Among rookies, his 92 targets were second only to San Diego rookie Keenan Allen during the regular season as were his 802 yards.
The Texans were hoping for big jumps from Martin, Posey and Jean this year but overall didn't really get them. Martin had a few nice games, but the Texans only targeted him 36 times all season. Posey's start was impacted by his working through the recovery from last January's Achilles injury. Jean meanwhile, didn't show enough to coaches to be used often. He was targeted eight times all season and caught four passes.
Reason for hope?: Hopkins' future is promising and a more settled quarterback position will help this unit as a whole. Posey will start the 2014 season healthier than he started the 2013 season, which will allow him to show more of his talent.