HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610) -- There was not much good to take from the Texans’ first week of football.
They did not tackle well, struggled to block, and lost hope in the waning minutes of the first half and the opening drive of the second half.
The offense moved the ball but struggled to score against the Chiefs until it was too late.
One of the bright spots, though, was watching tight end Jordan Akins flash as a playmaker with his limited role in the passing game.
Akins caught just two passes, one for a touchdown. He stood out as an athlete in the two-minute drill to end the second quarter with this catch, stopping on a dime to avoid the tackle and muscling his way for another 10 yards.
In the fourth quarter, Akins exploited a linebacker mismatch and found the end zone to break Houston’s scoring drought.
These were Akins’ only two targets of the game.
I asked SportsRadio 610’s Wade Smith, a former Texans Pro Bowl offensive lineman and retired 12-year NFL veteran, about his opinion on Akins and how he should be used in Houston’s offense.
Wade wants to see Akins utilized more in the starting role over Darren Fells, who had a rough day blocking against the Chiefs.
“(Tight end) screens for him would be a way to get him the ball in the open field,” Wade said. “He has a knack for not allowing the first guy to tackle him so his yards after the catch is always high.”
Akins was used in run-pass option plays in the second half, even though reads dictated he not get the ball.
But Wade wants to see the Texans do this for the entire game.
Afternoon host Clint Stoerner, who played quarterback in the NFL, agrees Akins should be the starter and a three-down tight end moving forward.
“His ability to run after catch and be a vertical threat is big time. We saw it (Thursday) night,” Clint said. “He’s a threat from anywhere he lines up, in the slot, in a three-point attached to the tackle, in the backfield as a fullback. Very versatile.
“His ceiling is much higher than Fells across the board. All the (run-pass option) stuff we’ve seen with Fells have success in, Akins would crush.”
So can we expect to see more of Akins and the RPO game? Texans head coach Bill O’Brien would not say exactly, but he understands the tight end’s value to the offense.
“Yeah, I mean, he caught a touchdown pass. He had a good catch there in the two-minute drive there at the end of the half. He’s a good player. He’s a good player and he plays a lot for us,” O’Brien said Monday when asked about Akins. “He’ll always be in the lineup as long as he’s healthy. He works hard. He’s gotten better as a football player in all areas, special teams included, since he’s been here.
“Good route runner. Strong player. Strong runner with the ball in his hands so, yeah he’s always a factor in our offense.”
The Texans already have moving parts in the tight end group with Kahale Warring, a third-round pick from 2019, going to the injured-reserve list and activating Pharaoh Brown from the practice squad to the active roster.
O’Brien said Wednesday they will evaluate Warring after three weeks “to see where he is injury wise.” O’Brien did not disclose the injury.
Warring missed his entire rookie season last year with a concussion.