When people looked at the box score of the Texans league best eleventh win of the season of the Tennessee Titans and saw that the defense created six turnovers, the consensus seemed to be that things are back to normal for that unit.
What these same people neglect to notice is that the injuries on the Texans defense have mounted up so high now that they have special teamers playing key roles. Whitney Mercilus has been moved into a starting role as a rookie since Brooks Reed went down with a groin injury, but he’s a first round pick and he is expected to grow up quick.
But when you have guys like Bryan Braman, who is superb on special teams, getting significant snaps on defense, then you have some cause for concern. If you need an example of what I mean, watch some of his plays at linebacker where he gets put on his butt more than once. Things like this move are like if Vince Papale had tried playing wide receiver.
But probably the more significant roster depth concern is that Houston was down to just three cornerbacks last Sunday. Brandon Harris, who has been talked about as a flop for a second round pick, went from zero playing time to starting nickel guy after Brice McCain broke his foot. Roc Carmichael, who has played nothing but special teams since being drafted, slid into the number two corner spot while Kareem Jackson, who is having a remarkable comeback season, slid to the number one with all-pro Jonathan Joseph still ailing.
Now before anyone starts to think that the Texans had some gems sitting on the sideline, take into account that they were playing against Jake Locker and a team in its first week with a new offensive coordinator. Also, with Tom Brady on the schedule for Monday Night, this is a particularly terrifying scenario.
Jonathan Joseph is said to be a game time decision against the Patriots after missing two games and that will be the key thing to look at here. But instead of having two “almost-rookies” out there against one of the greats at the quarterback position, the Texans have picked up the bat phone and called in free agent corner Stanford Routt.
Routt had some great years on bad Oakland teams playing opposite Nnamdi Asomugha before leaving the Raiders for free agency this past year. Houston actually had a visit scheduled with him on his free agent tour before Kansas City didn’t let him leave Arrowhead without a contract. However, he was a bad fit for what they were doing and he’s found himself unemployed for the last four weeks.
Having ties with Houston after playing his college ball there, if he’s in shape, plus the previous interest, I see no way Houston lets him take his next visit he has scheduled with the Pittsburgh Steelers tomorrow.
Routt is by no means a lock down guy and would be little more than a band aid to the Texans flailing secondary, but when Jonathan Joseph comes back, he could be a huge addition to this defense on the stretch run. With less than a week until the contest in New England, there isn’t even much of a chance he’d see significant snaps in that game. But, even if he doesn’t know the scheme, he’d probably have a better shot against Tom Brady than the two aforementioned youngsters would.
If he’s in shape, and his asking price isn’t too high, I expect you’ll see Routt in Texans steel blue on Monday Night Football this week. He was a bad fit for Kansas City, but he’s exactly the kind of corner that Wade Phillips likes to employ. If Wade wants him, the Texans will sign him today.
Filed under: Houston Texans
Tagged with: AFC, AFC South, Brandon Harris, Bryan Braman, Houston Texans, Jake Locker, Jonathan Joseph, Kansas City Chiefs, Kareem Jackson, Monday Night Football, New England Patriots, Nnamdi Asomugha, Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, Roc Carmichael, Stanford Routt, Tennessee Titans, Tom Brady, Whitney Mercilus