Texans Position Group Poised To Be The Best In Franchise History Entering 2022

July 8, 2022

After yet another disappointing season in 2021, can the Texans offensive line finally make a comeback in 2022 to be the best it’s ever been in franchise history?

The Texans offensive line was certainly lack luster last year, to say the least. Surrendering forty-four sacks, the seventh most holding penalties, and allowing the lowest yards per carry in the NFL last year they were amongst the worst units the league. However, there is a lot of optimism that the Texans could have a good offensive line in 2022, a phrase that you don’t hear too often in Houston.

Terrific Texans Tackles

Firstly, the most obvious reason to expect improvement this coming season is the return of former pro bowl Left Tackle Laremy Tunsil. Tunsil was acquired in a blockbuster trade with the Dolphins and is the third highest paid tackle in the NFL. When healthy, Tunsil is one of the best offensive tackles in the league. The soon to be 28 year old was ranked by Pro Football Network as the fourth best tackle in the NFL in 2020 (when he was last healthy). Unfortunately, he missed all but five games of 2022 due to a thumb injury. Without him, the Texans struggled to protect rookie quarterback Davis Mills’ blind side. Having Tunsil back should relieve a lot of the stress on Mills as the young QB goes into his second season.

Perhaps the lone positive of last season for the offensive line was the emergence of Right Tackle Tytus Howard. Howard, the Texans 2019 first round selection, was originally a Tackle who was moved over to Guard last year, a decision proving to be the wrong one. Howard was then thrust back over to tackle where he shined with a 79.8 Pro Football Reference Grade overall, and an 89.9 grade on passing downs. Howard also only surrendered two sacks on the season. Howard will more than likely start the season at Right Tackle next year and get to fully prove his worth.

While both Tunsil and Howard are good players, how they preform during running plays is both players’ biggest weakness. The only knock on Tunsils game has always been his run blocking. Ben Linsey of Pro Football Focus had this to say: “he hasn’t been a dominant run blocker (no single-season run-blocking grades above 70.0 in six NFL seasons).” While Tunsil is one of top pass protecting offensive tackles, his run blocking woes are a little concerning. The same goes for Tytus Howard, who also had a lower then seventy run-block rating last season. Despite these concerns in the run game, the pass blocking finesse alone of Tunsil and Howard is enough to trust them on the outsides this upcoming season.

Assessing The Interior

With the tackle situation already in hand for 2022, many expected the Texans to spend the offseason targeting Interior Offensive Linemen in Free Agency and the Draft. The team did just that, signing G AJ Cann, and Drafting G Kenyon Green 15th overall. Cann was ranked by PFF as the 28th best Guard in the NFL going into last year, a year that would be held short due to injury. If he can continue that level of play while also staying healthy, it will be a great signing, but he hasn’t been the most consistent player throughout his career. On the other, much younger hand, Green is a 6’4 325 pound rookie who has the potential to shine in the NFL. His elite size, skills, and versatility all led to him being drafted so high. Both due to high hopes and a lack of other options, Cann and Green are more than likely going to start at guard for the Texans this year, forming a solid duo.

The Texans also brought back veteran Center Justin Britt this offseason. Britt came out of retirement last year to play for the Texans, and played well enough for General Manager Nick Cesario and the Houston coaching staff to want him back. The 31 year old veteran is a solid player and will be a great leader on a relatively young line. Britt has started ninety-seven out of ninety-eight games in his career, and is one of the most consistent players on the team. It would have been nice to see some better competition for Britt be brought in, but he should be serviceable for 2022.

The 2022 Texans offensive line in my opinion could become the best in franchise history. The Texans are getting back a proven superstar tackle and acquired two good guards, one who’s shown signs of being an above average player, and another with the potential to be a star. The offensive line could be the key to how successful Davis Mills is, and it looks like this unit could be pretty good.

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