We talked with Brett over at SB Nation’s Texans site, Battle Red Blog, about today’s Chiefs-Texans game. Find our answers to his questions here and find our Q&A below...
AP: How has rookie Deshaun Watson been so effective these past two weeks?
BRB: Bill O'Brien has done a masterful job of game planning the offense around Watson's skillset. He's using lots of bootlegs, quick/rhythm passing concepts, and designed quarterback runs to create a sort of death-by-a-thousand-paper-cuts offensive style that is very, very difficult to stop. In fact, a lot of the concepts that Houston is running these days are pretty much carbon copies of what the Chiefs have run for years. If you watch Deshaun Watson closely this weekend and equate him to a younger, even more elusive version of Alex Smith, don't be surprised. That's what the Texans want him to be.
AP: What does the return of wide receiver Will Fuller mean to this offense?
BRB: Speed, speed, and more speed. He is Houston's version of Tyreek Hill, or at least ideally he will provide some of the same elements that Hill does in Kansas City. He stretches the field vertically, he makes an impact on special teams as a return man, and you might see him get some carries from time to time on sweeps and end arounds as well. If the Chiefs give Fuller the green light with man to man coverage and no safety help over the top, expect to see some shots downfield early and often in this game. 4.2 speed is 4.2 speed, after all.
AP: By JJ Watt's standards, he's been a bit quieter on the stat sheet one-fourth through the season. What's been the difference?
BRB: A combination of constant double teams and referees refusing to call even the most egregious holding penalties. It's gotten to the point he is basically sacrificing himself to the offensive line on every play while Jadeveon Clowney, Whitney Mercilus, and Benardrick McKinney stuff their stat sheets unopposed. I'm sure Watt isn't complaining, though. As long as the defense keeps having days like last week where they force five turnovers and score a touchdown, he won't care if he gets any sacks or not.
AP: What has Missouri State product Dylan Cole meant to the defense so far?
BRB: With Brian Cushing out on a 10-game suspension, Cole is playing a rotational role at inside linebacker alongside Benardrick McKinney and Zach Cunningham. He has been the best coverage linebacker on the Texans roster so far this season, and he put a stamp on that last week with a beautiful pick six late in the Tennessee game. His number of snaps is still up in the air on a week to week basis because Houston has such a strong linebacker corps, but he is certainly carving out a role for himself on this unit.
AP: Who is a Texans player Chiefs fans wouldn't normally know about, but should, headed into this Sunday? Why?
BRB: Ryan Griffin has really stepped up so far this season at tight end. His catch radius and soft hands have been difference makers in the red zone, and with C.J. Fiedorowicz on injured reserve you should expect Griffin to get a significant number of targets on Sunday night. If you need a fantasy tight end this week, you could do a hell of a lot worse than Ryan Griffin.