Steelers will make Deshaun Watson regret the Hopkins trade

Deshaun Watson #4 of the Houston Texans (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
Deshaun Watson #4 of the Houston Texans (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images) /

The days of elite defense are back in Pittsburgh. Steelers have dominant returning veterans and rising stars that are making this defense something to fear.

Joe Haden is a veteran presence at cornerback, safety Minkah Fitzpatrick hit the ground running this time last year after a trade from Miami, linebackers Devin Bush and TJ Watt are young stars exemplifying the Steelers’ build-through-the-draft policy, Bud Dupree has had a career resurgence, and Cam Heyward is always a presence anchoring the defensive line.

The 2019 unit ranked sixth in the NFL, with a near-even touchdown/interception ratio of 23/20. After getting pushed around by the Baltimore Ravens last week, Deshaun Watson may wish for an elite receiver to help him at Heinz Field on Sunday.

The shame of it all is he used to have one, but the Texans traded DeAndre Hopkins away this offseason. Hopkins was thought to throw some gasoline on the fire concerning his relationship with his former club, tweeting “Grateful” after the Texans’ Week 1 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

However, in another development typical of this crazy year, it appears Hopkins was simply referring to his appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon:

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Hopkins started 15 games for Houston last year with 104 receptions on 150 targets, good for 1165 yards and an average of 11.2 yards per reception. Let’s not forget Christmas Day 2017, when he showed us all exactly what he was capable of.

Houston is 0-2, and their current receiving unit is led by Brandin Cooks, who has caught seven balls on 13 targets for 115 yards and an average reception of16.4 yards. Will Fuller is 8/10 with 112 yards and a 14-yard average. Tight end Jordan Akins is still perfect on the year, catching all 9 of his targets for 94 yards and a 10.4 average. Randall Cobb is 7/9 for 82 yards, averaging 11.7 yards.

The Texans may have four pass-catchers averaging a first down every time they bring a ball in, and they’ve certainly been tested by their first two opponents, the Chiefs, and the Ravens.

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However, they lost both of those games, and the Steelers’ defense will provide more of the same treatment on Sunday, leaving Deshaun Watson sorely missing his franchise receiver.