After a white-hot start to their 2022 season, rookie defensive backs Jalen Pitre and Derek Stingley Jr. have cooled off a bit for the Houston Texans over the last several games. Pitre has looked lost at times, and Stingley was inactive for the team’s matchup against the New York Giants in Week 11.
Despite the drop-off, veteran cornerback Desmond King II told reporters on Tuesday that he is doing his best to help the first-year defenders work through their recent struggles.
“It’s a part of football,” King explained. “That’s going to happen. That’s going to come with it. Everybody has been down that road. Like I said, as a rookie, you have to think like a goldfish. They say goldfish have the shortest [memory]. It’s just got to go right out the window, right out the door and you’ve just got to go to the next play. Can’t let that play affect the rest of the plays in the game.”
While the lack of production from the rookies is certainly disappointing for fans who had hoped their presence would help the Texans rebound in 2022, it certainly isn’t a reflection on their talent that got them to Houston in the first place. They were both brought into an extremely challenging situation after being drafted by the worst team in the league, and there remains plenty of potential for the Texans to unlock in the coming seasons.
The grim reality of their current situation is that they were both performing at an All-Pro caliber level, Houston likely wouldn’t see a difference in their overall record given the dysfunction occurring on the other side of the ball. With the help of King to keep their chins high over the course of the rest of the season, Pitre and Stingley should have no problem bouncing back in 2023 to become the star defenders that their college film indicated they might become.