One positive for the Chicago Bears has been Jaylon Johnson. He has hardly been targeted at all this season, and PFF has him down for one catch allowed. While it seems almost too hard to go through three games without giving up more than one catch, there is a chance that Johnson could pull this off against the Texans.
When it comes to the Texans’ offense, they do not have much depth at wide receiver. Brandin Cooks has 35% of the Texans’ air yards while passing, and 30% of the targets that Davis Mills throws go to Brandin Cooks.
On the season Brandin Cooks lines up on the left side just 32% of the time. However, with Jaylon Johnson living over there, the Texans would be wise to move him from 68% in the slot and right to an even higher number. Considering that is where a majority of his snaps come, that should not be an issue.
Behind Brandin Cooks are Nico Collins, Chris Moore, and Chris Conley. Collins spends 56% of his time on the left side, and he is the number two pass catcher so far this season. However, Collins also runs 34% of his routes on the right side, with Cooks in the slot 26% of the time.
One thing the Texans can easily do is line up Collins on the right side and put Cooks in the slot a bit more than they usually do. This puts Collins on Kindle Vildor, while it puts Cooks on the rookie Kyler Gordon.
This will not happen every snap, but you have to assume that Cooks is going to spend the majority of his snaps away from Johnson, and Collins will probably not get targeted when he is lined up against Johnson.
This will leave Chris Moore and Chris Conley against Jaylon Johnson. Moore is a primary slot wideout, so it could be a lot of Conley for Jaylon Johnson. Conley has a 2.7% target share, has 2.9% of the Texans’ air yards, and is targeted on 14.3% of the routes he runs. We may walk away thinking that there is no wonder Johnson was not targeted when we hear that Conley ran most of his routes against him.
It is easy for the Texans to get their top two wideouts on the Chicago Bears’ bottom two wideouts, then use Conley as a decoy to waste Johnson.