Texans continue to neglect youth movement despite lost season

The Houston Texans released third-year wide receiver Anthony Miller. Houston traded a 2022 fifth-round pick for the former Chicago Bears 2018 second-round pick, along with a 2022 seventh-rounder.Miller was acquired in August from the Chicago Bears in exchange for a 5th round selection in the 2022 draft and was himself selected in the 2nd round by Chicago in 2018.

Miller played two games for the Texans this year, including a performance against the Carolina Panthers’ where he caught rookie quarterback Davis Mills’ only touchdown of the evening. He finished his tenure in Houston with five catches for 23 yards off of 11 targets.

Normally this kind of transaction is not one that you’d bat an eye at. A marginal roster player was passed over in favor of giving opportunity to other men on the team that the coaching staff favors. However, this isn’t your normal case.

The Miller cut represents yet another example of GM Nick Caserio essentially wasting a Day 3 selection on a player that spent very little time with the team. Similarly, the Texans traded a 6th round pick for quarterback Ryan Finley from the Cincinnati Bengals before cutting him during training camp.

This is a small quarrel, however, compared to the larger issue at hand. The Houston Texans are too old. Already the oldest team in the NFL, Miller was the second youngest receiver on the roster (26) behind rookie Nico Collins (21). In a season where making the playoffs seems virtually impossible with Mills at quarterback while starter Tyrod Taylor nurses a hamstring injury, all eyes are on the future of 2022 and beyond in Houston.

Somehow, rather than the future, this coaching staff continues to place emphasis on the present and on veteran presences on the team that have little future value beyond the 2021 season. When asked about why the team cut Miller, head coach David Culley responded that it was redundant to roster both Danny Amendola and Miller simultaneously if Amendola is healthy.

Amendola is 35 years old. He was a free agent until 4 days before the season kickoff against Jacksonville. A signing that is the practical definition of a journeyman filler is one that the coaching staff has decided to place emphasis on. This is a major problem.

The Texans must focus on finding and identifying future contributors for the 2022 and 2023 seasons when, with draft capital from the assumed Deshaun Watson trade, they will have a chance to return to relevance. The identification of this young talent is imperative in building any competitive roster in the NFL.

So far, we’ve seen no effort to emphasize youth in Houston. Amendola won the war against a younger, more talented slot receiver in Miller. Scottie Phillips is inactive every week while veterans Mark Ingram and Phillip Lindsay struggle to create anything on the ground. Brevin Jordan has not played a single snap yet in his young NFL career.

It’s becoming frustrating to watch this team again and again emphasize veteran presence and culture in a movement that will ultimately amount to nothing moving beyond this season. The veteran contributors currently seeing snaps in season are unlikely to play any part in the Texans returning to the top of the AFC South and the Super Bowl conversation.

Houston is due for a youth movement if they hope to be competitive anytime in the near future. It is a fallacy to continue to place value in the 2021 season and imperative that the front office identify what can only be called a “sunk cost.” Fans can only hope that the staff on Kirby Drive takes the time to realize this soon.