The Texans suffered yet another blow along the offensive line with news that rookie center Nick Martin had surgery on his ankle and is out for the season.
It’s never a good sign when losing one player — a rookie at that — could cripple an entire unit, but the Texans are in rough shape up front. Tackles Duane Brown (quad) and Derek Newton (hamstring) are both out with injuries, while guard Brandon Brooks left in free agency. Now according to Aaron Wilson for the Houston Chronicle, Martin will go on injured reserve.
With all the departures and injuries, Wilson’s Chronicle colleague John McClain notes the most senior member of the current Houston O-line is left guard Xavier Su’a-Filo, a third-year player.
Although Martin isn’t merely a loss because of how thin and inexperienced the Texans are up front. Wilson notes the second-round draft pick has been “lauded repeatedly for his toughness, intelligence and skill.” Expected to replace Ben Jones, who also departed in free agency, Martin was considered a vital piece of the unit moving forward. And considering how well his older brother, Zack Martin, performed for the Cowboys as a rookie, there were high hopes for a similar level of play.
While Brown and Newton should eventually return, the offensive line will be inexperienced until then. Even after, there’s no telling how soon-to-be 31-year-old Brown will perform upon his return, or if former undrafted center Greg Mancz, with zero NFL starts, will fare in Martin’s stead.
The Texans have serious issues up front, and there’s a good chance those are going to linger into the regular season. Not good news for Brock Osweiler or Lamar Miller, expensive offseason additions for the Houston backfield.