The Houston Texans needed better play from their offensive line this season and traded first-round picks in the 2020-21 NFL Draft for offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil to do it before the season. Now the question is, has there been an improvement?
The Texans (1-1) defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2) 13-12 after stopping the Jags on a two-point conversion at the half-yard line on a tackle by safety Justin Reid.
Houston’s defense carried the team sacking first-time starter quarterback Gardner Minshew four times and holding him to 269 yards and a touchdown while also forcing a fumble. The Jags had 316 yards total for the game.
Through the first two games against the New Orleans Saints and the Jaguars, the Texans offensive line has given up 10 sacks. At the rate it’s going through the first two games, Deshaun Watson will have been sacked 64 times this season. That’s two more than the NFL high of 62 Houston gave up last season.
It has been a flaw for the Texans since Watson became the starting quarterback, but I would not be alarmed. Not just yet.
It’s clear the Texans still need some work at the tackle position. It didn’t get any better after Tunsil was injured early in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury, though he returned on the next drive.
Ole Miss product Tunsil was a first-round pick in 2016 for a reason and the Texans went all-in on him. He’s only averaged giving up six sacks per season in his three years with the Miami Dolphins and is durable, playing in at least 14 games each season.
“We’re just trying to improve and get that sack number from 62,” Tunsil said. “We don’t want to have our quarterback getting hit, and we’re going to work on it every day.”
The line needs a chance to gel together and halfway through the season should give Texans fans a good indication whether their team has taken the right steps to improve and protect their quarterback.
“We’re past that, we’re looking at this season to improve and take it day by day, game by game,” Tunsil said.
The Texans go on the road to face the Chargers at 3:25 Sunday in Dignity Health Sports Park.