Midseason Offensive Positional Grades
Deshaun Watson was on pace last season to have one of the most electric quarterback seasons in history. If you're comparing this season to last season, you would be disappointed. At the end of the day though, it wasn't realistic for Watson to keep on pace with his throwing numbers from last season.
This season, Watson has looked good in six of the eight games he's played in. He looked to be working off rust against the Patriots, which is understandable coming off a torn ACL. He only completed 50% of his passes in the loss. Against the Bills he threw two interceptions and fumbled three times in the narrow win.
In the other six games combined, Watson has completed 67% of his passes for 13 touchdowns. The expectations may have been too high on him following his historical outburst last season, but Watson has been very good this season and he's put his heart and health on the line for the Texans.
Overall Grade: A-
Lamar Miller had an outstanding game in week eight against the Dolphins, finishing with 133 yards and a touchdown. He hasn't been as impressive though this season as that line would make you believe. He has started seven games this season and is on pace for 1000 yards, but significantly over 20% of that yardage comes against the worst run defense in the league.
Alfred Blue is averaging on 3.3 yards per attempt. He's been good situationally, pounding the ball up the middle with his large frame, but he isn't the type of player to rip apart a defense over the course of a game.
The rushing numbers look better this season after the rout of Miami, but with games from Miller with 10 carries for 10 yards, and Blue failing to even reach 3.0 yards per attempt three times this season, they have been mightily frustrating.
If the running backs can continue their dominance of the past few weeks, this grade could look very different come January, but for now they've been too consistently unimpressive to deserve a top grade.
Overall Grade: C+
DeAndre Hopkins, as expected, has been great so far this season. He torched the Colts and the Cowboys in weeks four and five, and he's constantly been putting up scored, sitting at six on the season.
Will Fuller had been outstanding again this season. The connection between Watson and Fuller is truly impressive. He's been beating teams over the top the entire season, and with a full season, he would likely finish with over 1000 yards and around ten scores. Fuller has no doubt worked himself into the conversation for one of the best second options in the league.
Keke Coutee's health has limited him so far this year, but he's performed well in the games he has played. He's the piece on the offense that the Texans have been looking for. Coutee is a very good gadget piece to identify defensive schemes and beat coverage men laterally. With development over the course of the season, Coutee should continue to look better and better.
Demaryius Thomas will play in his first game today for the Texans, but his outlook in Houston looks very good filling in for Fuller. Over time it will become clear what his intentions are in this offense, but it is hard to imagine Thomas not producing.
Overall Grade: A
The tight ends have been mightily unimpressive this year. Not at a fault on their own, the offense rarely works tight ends into the passing game. Ryan Griffin has had one game with over 50 yards of receiving, and Jordan Thomas had two touchdowns against the Dolphins in Griffin's absence.
If the tight ends got worked into the offense more, it would be entirely possible that the statistical output would be more impressive. The future looks bright at tight end with two rookies who have both looked good in their own ways. The way it has looked so far halfway through the season, the tight ends aren't deserving of an above average grade.
Overall Grade: C-
The offensive line has been bad this year. There's no better way to put it. They've struggled to open up running holes for the running backs and Deshaun Watson has been under pressure constantly. The offensive line has also been the reason for tons of penalty calls to this point in the season.
Watson has played into the pressure on him by holding onto the ball for an unprecedented amount of time before throwing. It's not in question though that the offensive line isn't performing up to standard and the personnel lacks talent.
The offensive line has looked significantly better the past two weeks, allowing Watson to work from the pocket. It showed tremendously against the Dolphins where Watson went 16 for 20 for five touchdowns. The offensive line seems to have figured it out over the past two weeks, and Texans fans can only hope that that is true. Front office should continue to work on the offensive line this offseason through free agency and the draft.
Overall Grade: D+