Manning Absence Is Major Concern

TexansDanieal Manning left Sunday’s game against the Rams in the third quarter with a leg injury. He limped off the field and did not return. At his locker room after the game, he didn’t appear a whole lot different than Owen Daniels did the week before after the San Francisco game.

Unfortunately just like Daniels, the Houston Chronicle’s Jerome Solomon reports today, that Manning will be out with a hairline fracture and could need surgery. The suggested timetable for a return is 6-8 weeks. There are 11 weeks left in the regular season. Regardless of how feel about Manning’s play this year, the key in this situation is that he has played, and played a lot.

He missed the final 12 defensive snaps of the game yesterday and those are the only defensive snaps he’s missed all year. Free agent signee Ed Reed returned from his own injury 4 weeks ago, which does coincide with the Texans four-game slide. Rookie D.J. Swearinger has played nearly 40% of the defensive snaps on the snaps, but he saw his least action Sunday, playing just 9 plays on defense.  Take a look at the snap counts through the first six games of the season for the Texans safeties.

HouSafetySnaps

Shiloh Keo was the starter in Reed’s absence and he replaced Manning on Sunday. I expect he will do the same this week in Kansas City. The Texans pass defense, especially their safeties, have not been exposed much this year. But in my opinion, it’s mainly because it hasn’t been necessary. They were torched in the Chargers game in week one by Antonio Gates in the only game where the Texans weren’t giving up points and touchdowns on offense.

If the Texans keep a game close and don’t self-destruct and actually force a team to make plays, they could look very bad. I’m not convinced that Alex Smith and the Chiefs will do that, but I am convinced coming out of the bye week, it will be a major concern facing Andrew Luck and the Colts.

This is a bad time for the Texans pass rush to look bad – they have only 1 sack in the last two games combined. Granted Colin Kaepernick and Sam Bradford dropped back to pass only 33 times combined. Houston had just 8 quarterback hurries in those two blowout losses as well.

– Wex (@awexler)

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