The Houston Texans roster will begin to look a lot differently with the team now officially eliminated from playoff contention at 4-9.
Houston Texans recent loss highlights incoming roster moves
Houston Texans are officially below .500 for the season
Any hope for the Houston Texans to make the playoffs or maintain a .500 record with Deshaun Watson is out the window after losing to the Chicago Bears in a very embarrassing fashion. The Texans were banged up heading into Week 14 with Brandin Cooks, John Reid, and Phillip Gaines ruled out for the game.
The Texans gave most of their snaps to their top available defensive backs in Vernon Hargreaves, Keion Crossen, Justin Reid, Eric Murray, and Lonnie Johnson. It went as great as you could expect with a group of defensive backs that have had less than a season together.
It was a given that any secondary lineup without their most talented cover cornerbacks in Bradley Roby or Gareon Conley would likely yield poor results, and there hasn’t been much sample size to indicate otherwise. The Texans are undermanned on the defensive side from a personnel and coaching standpoint, and it will only get worse moving forward.
More Houston Texans starters are out for remainder of 2020
Add Justin Reid and Brandon Dunn to the list of injured players the Houston Texans will place on the IR. Texans have lost Benardrick McKinney, Randall Cobb, Will Fuller, Bradley Roby, Cullen Gillaspia, Gareon Conley, Michael Thomas, Dylan Cole, P.J. Hall, and Duke Ejiofor for the season due to injury or suspension.
This team has been severely depleted when it comes to their original core, and more players are likely held out with the fate of this season already decided. It makes very little sense to play injured players and have them miss the early portion of the 2021 season.
There are other players like Deshaun Watson and J.J. Watt, who feel the need to finish the season despite the outcome, but it's understandable for any player dealing with pre-existing injuries to sit out the remaining three games of the season for rehab purposes.
Expect more Houston Texans scout players to make their long awaited appearance
The Houston Texans have at least two roster spots to address on the 53 man roster with Dunn and Reid’s season-ending injuries. Revamping the safety position could be a route they choose not to pursue after signing Jonathan Owens from the practice squad a few days ago.
Owens is a player the Texans signed last season to the practice squad and protected him from being poached by other teams as they have developed him. It’s most likely Houston addresses their wide receiver position after adding Owens to the secondary.
The Texans only have three receivers on the roster in Brandin Cooks (nursing a neck and foot injury), Keke Coutee (playing through a knee injury), and Isaiah Coulter, who they seem very reluctant to give playing time as a rookie.
Coulter is an appealing candidate to get more snaps with the season's course already decided, but the Texans will benefit from adding another receiver to their depth chart. Steven Mitchell and Chad Hansen are the most appealing options from the practice squad.
Houston will likely resort to the practice squad to bring any reinforcements with the league's COVID-19 Protocol restricting teams from immediately playing claimed players or street free agents for the following game.
Along with promoting a receiver, the return of Brennan Scarlett to the 53 man roster seems imminent after activating his 21 practice period last week. Texans only added more fuel to the fire after waiving outside linebacker Nate Orchard to bring Jonathan Owens to the active roster.
There are other intriguing names on the practice, with nose tackle Auzoyah Alufohai being the lone undrafted rookie to still not see any playing time from the remaining 2020 class. Alufohai could join undrafted running back Scottie Phillips as another special teams player for the latter portion of this season.
Houston can elect to elevate Alufohai to the game-day roster twice before deciding to sign him to the active roster or revert him to the practice squad. Texans could stand pat at that position with an already crowded defensive line group with J.J. Watt, Carlos Watkins, Charles Omenihu, Andrew Brown, Corey Liuget, and Ross Blacklock.
It bodes well for Alufohai remaining on the practice squad throughout most of his rookie season; it indicates that Houston likes what they see from the former undrafted free agent from West Georgia. There has been plenty of turnover at the practice squad, but Alufohai has been one of the only constants on a week to week basis.
Giving Alufohai some run with the active roster would be a great way to see what they have in him heading into 2021.