The best pass-catcher in football should have a couple more electric receivers on the field with him in 2019.
DeAndre Hopkins is the greatest receiver in the land. The All-Pro turned in another sterling season, catching 115 passes for 1,572 yards and 11 scores. He started all 16 games, playing through pain and routinely making the amazing look routine. Having Will Fuller, V and Keke Coutee alongside him adds explosive dimensions to the Houston offense. But that duo played a combined 13 games in 2018. Fuller, Coutee and Hopkins were on the field together for a combined four games, from Week 4 through Week 7.
Head coach Bill O'Brien is excited for the duo's return. But that excitement is tempered.
“I am, but that’s one of the things that I’m talking about during the offseason that we have to figure out," O'Brien said. "We’ve got to figure out how to help these guys to stay healthy."
Fuller was lost for the season after a knee injury in the Week 7 win over the Dolphins. Coutee missed the entire preseason slate, as well as the first regular season three games of 2018 because of a hamstring injury. He missed another three games with a hamstring injury before suiting back up in Weeks 11 and 12. But Weeks 13 through 17 saw him inactive because of the hamstring injury. He returned with a bang for the playoff game, leading the Texans with 11 catches for 110 yards and the team's only touchdown.
"Keke is a very dynamic player, obviously, what you saw yesterday," O'Brien said on Sunday. "I think in the two games that he played versus Indianapolis the first game and this past game, he had probably 20-something catches. He’s a dynamic player, but he only played a certain amount of games."
Based on their per-game regular season averages, Fuller was on pace to finish with 73 catches for 1,150 yards and nine touchdowns. He cracked the 100-yard receiving mark three times this season.
"Will Fuller is obviously a very dynamic player," O'Brien said. "Great speed, great route runner, all those things, but we need him for a full 16-game season. So, we’ve got to figure that out."
Coutee, meanwhile, would've finished with 75 catches for 765 yards if his regular season per-game averages would've held.
"There were a lot of ups and downs this year," Coutee said. "I obviously wish I could've played more. But I know what I have to work on now, so I'll come back next year better. Way better."
Coutee, Fuller and the Texans will begin the offseason workout programs at NRG Stadium on April 15.
The Houston Texans roster in photos. (Updated 5/20/2019)