Guess who’s coming to the division.
The Tennessee Titans traded a 2022 second-rounder and a 2023 fourth-rounder to the Atlanta Falcons for receiver Julio Jones and a 2023 sixth-rounder on Sunday.
With Jones joining an offense that already features running back Derrick Henry in the backfield and A.J. Brown on the outside, the implications are frightening when the Houston Texans and their Tampa 2 scheme have to play Tennessee twice a year.
Do the Texans even have a defender who can cover Jones?
Actually, they might.
On Oct. 6, 2019, at NRG Stadium, the Texans demolished the Falcons 53-32 with quarterback Deshaun Watson throwing five touchdowns and posting a 158.3 passer rating.
The Texans defense managed to contain Jones to just three catches for 42 yards. While Ito Smith and Austin Hooper led Atlanta with six catches, rookie wideout Calvin Ridley was the most productive for the Falcons with five catches for 88 yards and a touchdown.
Much of the Texans secondary that was on the field against Jones in 2019 will be on the roster in 2021: cornerback Bradley Roby, safety Justin Reid, safety Lonnie Johnson, who was playing more cornerback in his rookie season. Roby had a forced fumble against Jones in the first quarter, but it was negated due to defensive end J.J. Watt committing roughing the passer against quarterback Matt Ryan.
What decimated Houston in their series with the Titans wasn’t the passing game; it was the run game. Henry tallied 212 yards in the Week 6 encounter and a whopping 250 in the Week 17 finale at NRG Stadium. Brown provided a 100-yard receiving game against Houston only in the finale.
If Houston fails to stop the run, as was their problem in 2020 with 5.2 yards per carry surrendered, the most in the NFL, that will open up the passing game. And it wouldn’t matter if Jones was on the field or not.
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