Sometimes a crush never goes away. When Briean Boddy-Calhoun was a member of the Minnesota Golden Gophers, I was a huge fan. I tried not to miss Gophers games when he was on the field. But, as with most college player crushes, the chance that any of them end up in Houston is minute. Possible, but minute. Well, possible came to fruition on Friday as Boddy-Calhoun agreed to a deal with the Texans.
Boddy-Calhoun had been a member of the Cleveland Browns the past three seasons and flourished in the nickel position for the Browns. Over three years, he registered 138 total tackles, a sack, 19 passes defensed and three interceptions. At 5-9, 193 lb., he's not going to line up on the outside, but inside, he can be a tough cover and this play is a great example of his cover skills, smarts and toughness against the Denver Broncos.
The Browns led the Broncos 17-16 late in the fourth quarter in the Mile High City. Quarterback Case Keenum and the Broncos faced 3rd-and-1 and targeted rookie Broncos receiver Daesean Hamilton in the right flat. The Broncos originally came out in a balanced two-by-two set.
Hamilton went in motion to create a 3x1 set to the right of the formation.
Boddy-Calhoun, in man coverage, followed Hamilton to the other side of the formation. Yep, a pick play.
Now, when I saw this play, I knew this was the one to draw up because, well, Philadelphia. In going back and reviewing the Texans 2018 season, the loss to the Eagles was one that I watched a dozen times. It was scintillating to watch Deshaun and DeAndre on that day, but it was equally frustrating to watch the Eagles have success on pick routes throughout the game. I can't tell you the number of pick routes the Eagles ran and how many times they had success in man coverage. Every conceivable pick route combination that the Eagles could run, they ran. And, it wasn't as if the Texans weren't prepared for it, they just ran into each other and the Eagles executed perfectly.
So, when I saw that the Broncos motioned Hamilton to the right side on 3rd-and-short, I flashed back to watching that game against the Eagles. I knew a pick route was coming and it was. I'm assuming Boddy-Calhoun knew too.
The two outside receivers took off up the field and by running those vertical routes, the Broncos hope was that the inside receiver/defensive back duo would "pick" off Boddy-Calhoun. That "pick" would allow Hamilton to make the catch, turn up the field to get the first down and get out of bounds.
But, Boddy-Calhoun masterfully avoided the contact.
In doing so, he created a straight line break on Hamilton to meet him at the catch point.
He then wrapped up the Broncos receiver for a tackle for a loss to keep the clock moving, well short of the first down, with a fourth down upcoming.
This is the type of play that the Texans need desperately from their inside cover guys. Since I first started studying Boddy-Calhoun back at Minnesota, I knew he could make plays and now it's time to make plays like this for the 2019 Texans defense.
Check out the best shots of new Texans cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun. (Photos via AP Images.)