Texans welcome new receiver

Houston Texans wide receiver Kenny Stills (12) runs off the line of scrimmage in the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has what many see as a nice quandary to have this season.

Most quarterbacks are fortunate to have two playmaking receivers, but with the recent addition of speedy wide receiver Kenny Stills the Texans have four game-breaking receivers. DeAndre Hopkins is without question that No.1 target but on any given Sunday Will Fuller, Keke Coutee or Stills could be the go-to target from play-to-play and game-to-game.

With four burners in the lineup, at least one of them is bound to be open. Watson’s biggest problem may be be spreading the ball around with so many capable receiving targets.

“My job is just to find the open guy and trickle it down and get points on the board to help this team win,” Watson said.  “As far as getting everyone involved, we all understand that this is a team sport. We’re going to do it for each other.”

We got to see a glimpse of how explosive the Texans can be at receiver during the season opener – minus Coutee who was held out with an ankle injury — with Watson hitting Hopkins, Fuller and Stills for big plays in the narrow loss to New Orleans. Hopkins had 8 catches on 13 targets for 111 yards and two touchdowns, Fuller had two receptions for 69 yards, which included a 54-yard catch. 

And in his debut with the Texans, Stills caught three passes on three targets and had an impressive 37-yard touchdown catch that temporarily put the Texans ahead 28-27 with 37 seconds remaining in the game. Stills, who came over in the trade with Miami for left tackle Laremy Tunsil, made an instant impact after being with the Texans a little over a week.

“He came in and I think there was a lot of carry-over from what he had been doing in Miami, similar terminology especially with formations and personnel groupings and things, so he was able to pick right up and made some good plays,” said Texans coach Bill O’Brien. “Obviously the touchdown was a huge play for us at the time. He’s a smart guy, he did a good job.”

The Texans’ receiving unit figures to be even stronger this week when AFC South rival Jacksonville comes to NRG Stadium. O’Brien has indicated Coutee could be available and the receivers now have an additional week working together as a unit with Watson.

Last season, Hopkins, Fuller and Coutee all recorded at least one 100-yard receiving game, making that the first time since 2013 that the Texans had three different receivers with 100-yard games in the same season. With Stills now and now in the mix, that could easily be four different receivers with 100-yard games this season. 

But Watson insists the only numbers that will matter are in the wins and loss columns.

“If it’s Will that has three touchdowns and Hop (DeAndre Hopkins) has zero, if we win then Hop is going to be just fine. Vice-versa, and same with Kenny and all the other guys,” Watson said. “We all work together, there’s no egos or anyone hating on each other. We’re just out there trying to win games and trying to go for the ultimate goal.”