Snaps Lost: Houston Texans
The “Snaps Lost” series is a detailed look at the playing time void created by players that have left each team this offseason, whether they were traded, cut, left in free agency, or retired.
Because each unit plays a different number of snaps over the course of the year, we have created the “Full Time Equivalent” metric. FTE is the total number of missing snaps divided by the number of plays the team ran on that side of the ball. This is an equivalent measure of how many full time players (100% snap count) the team would need to add on to make up for their offseason losses, even though very few players actually play a full snap count.
For example, if a team had 1,100 snaps on offense and then lost seven players who combined to play 2,200 snaps, their FTE would be 2.0 (2,200/1,100). This ensures that a team who lost a high volume of players only has a high FTE if those players racked up some significant playing time. FTE can only fall between zero (no players left the team) and 11 (fire everyone!) for each side of the ball.
Each team will have a ranking following their FTE, with the first-ranked team in each category (offense, defense, and total) representing the team with the smallest portion of their playing time in need of replacement.
A few caveats before getting into the good stuff:
-Suspensions and injuries that may limit 2015 snap counts are not considered.
-Biggest Losses are purely in terms of snap count, not necessarily in terms of impact.
-All snap counts are Regular Season only.
Overall FTE Lost: 6.76, 29th
FTE Lost: 2.79, 19th
Biggest Losses: Chris Myers (1124), Andre Johnson (946), Ryan Fitzpatrick (746)
Summary – A couple of long-time Texans were cut loose this offseason. Releasing Myers saved significant cap room and at 33, he’s closer to the end of his career than he is to the beginning. Johnson’s departure was the hardest on Houston fans, especially after then signing with the Colts, but his play had also dropped off significantly, even if he was productive in 2014. Fitzpatrick was only ever a stop-gap solution at quarterback, and as much was shown when the Texans traded him to the Jets for a late round pick.
Replacement Plan – The game plan is for Ben Jones to slide over to center and take Myers’ place, though that does vacate the left guard position. Last year’s second-round pick, Xavier Su’a-Filo, will then move into that opening, but we’ve seen just 130 snaps from him in year one and it didn’t go all that great (-8.5). DeAndre Hopkins took a huge leap in his sophomore season but is already playing full-time, which means Johnson’s snaps will have to come from elsewhere. Damaris Johnson and Keyshawn Martin could each see more time, though neither did a lot with the time they got last season. Third-round pick Jaelen Strong will almost certainly see the field, and free agent signings Nate Washington and Cecil Shorts should as well. Figuring out the quarterback situation has been the big story in Houston this offseason, as newcomer Brian Hoyer will compete with Ryan Mallett for snaps under center.
FTE Lost: 3.97, 29th
Biggest Losses: Kendrick Lewis (1097), D.J. Swearinger (1037), Brooks Reed (799), Danieal Manning (591), Tim Jamison (420)
Summary – There were wholesale changes in the defensive backfield, as three Texan safeties were off to find new teams to play for in 2015. That was no trouble for Lewis, who parlayed a solid season into a three-year deal with Baltimore. Swearinger was claimed off waivers by the Buccaneers after a somewhat disappointing two-year run, while Manning has drawn little interest on the free agent market at age 32. Reed headed off to Atlanta as the Falcons attempt to strengthen their defense. With a -14.5 2014 grade and coming off a season ending knee injury, Jamison’s loss will be less significant.
Replacement Plan – After an underrated start to his career in Denver, Rahim Moore has joined the Texans and will fill one starting spot. The other safety spot will see more competition, as both Eddie Pleasant (61 snaps last year) and Stevie Brown (signed from the Giants) will get to stake a claim. A healthy Jadeveon Clowney would replace most of Reeds’ snaps, and if he plays up to his potential he’ll be an upgrade as well. Vince Wilfork’s time with the Patriots came to an end and he was scooped up by Houston. He’s not the player he once was, but considering propensity for eating up playing time (and blockers), he should have little trouble covering for Jamison.