Sean Pendergast

Houston Texans Among NFL Teams Most Decimated By COVID Spike

Maliek Collins (97) and Jacob Martin (54) are among the many Texans with positive COVID tests recently.
Maliek Collins (97) and Jacob Martin (54) are among the many Texans with positive COVID tests recently. Photo by Eric Sauseda
Anytime you need to create an online tracker page to keep tabs on the overall number of anything, it probably means the number of said anything is reaching an unmanageable mental retention point. So that's where we are with COVID-19 in the NFL right now — and undeniably COVID-19 around the world, with the new Omicron variant — where over 10 percent of the league has tested positive in the last several days.

The Houston Texans are among the most COVID-infected teams in an uber infected National Football League, with 16 regular roster players and two practice squad players on the COVID reserve list, all of whom who are unable to suit up or practice by rule. Here are the 16 roster players on the list as of Wednesday (date placed on list in parentheses):

WR Brandin Cooks (December 22)
K Ka'imi Fairbairn (December 22)
LB Eric Wilson (December 22)
DL Jaleel Johnson (December  21)
DL Jacob Martin (December  20)
DL Derek Rivers (December  20)
DL Maliek Collins (December  20)
DL Jonathan Greenard (December  18)
OL Lane Taylor (December 18)
G Justin McCray (December 17)
DB Terrence Brooks (December 16)
DB Terrance Mitchell (December 16)
DB A.J. Moore (December 15)
DL DeMarcus Walker (December 15)
LB Christian Kirksey (December 15)
LB Kamu Grugier-Hill (December 13)

The Texans are just a few day away from the Los Angeles Chargers coming to NRG Stadium for a Week 16 football game. I have a few thoughts on this fairly harrowing COVID-19 reserve list:

Could Sunday's game get postponed?
The NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell came into the season essentially threatening teams, that if they had a COVID outbreak, there would be no postponement of games for a couple days, as it was in 2020. Instead, there was a perpetual mandate from the league that games would either be played on time or cancelled altogether, with players losing game checks in the latter scenario. As it turns out, the threat was an empty one. The league postponed games this past weekend from Saturday/Sunday to Monday/Tuesday, games involving three teams that had COVID cases in the neighborhood of 20 or so on their reserve list. Again, the Texans are at 18 right now, and it's entirely possible that number could rise in the coming days. If you have tickets for Sunday, stay nimble.

If the game isn't postponed, then looking at the Texans' list, the Chargers might run wild
For the Texans, their COVID cases are HEAVILY skewed to the defensive side of the ball. The only offensive players on the list are starting guards Justin McCray and Lane Taylor. Furthermore, the numbers infected on the defensive line are scary, from a pure football standpoint. Jonathan Greenard and Maliek Collins have been the team's two best defensive linemen. They're on the list. As far as depth beyond them, Jacob Martin, Jaleel Johnson, Derek Rivers, and DeMarcus Walker (who is also conventionally injured, not just COVID infected) are ALL out this Sunday, as of right now. Chargers RB Austin Ekeler went on the COVID list himself on Wednesday, so his fantasy owners are going to miss out on a prime scoring day, unfortunately for them.

The Chargers have COVID issues of their own, including Joey Bosa
Now, the one thing I will say is that the Chargers COVID list is no picnic either. It's not as bad nor as positionally lopsided as the Texans' list, but there are some numbers on here:

RB Austin Ekeler (December 22)
DE Joe Gaziano (December 21)
QB Chase Daniel (December 21)
DE Joey Bosa (December 20)
CB Tevaughn Campbell (December 20)
CB Kemon Hall (December 20)
C Corey Linsley (December 20)
DB Trey Marshall (December 20)
WR Andre Roberts (December 20)
OLB Chris Rumph II (December 20)

The big one is edge rusher Joey Bosa, who has already been declared out for Sunday, since he is unvaccinated and infected, and thus must sit for a minimum of ten days. This is great news for the further growth and development of Texans rookie QB Davis Mills.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.
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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast