Despite only catching 10 passes for 101 yards slot receiver DeAndre Carter has been a solid addition to the Texans. And that’s not just because he has been a revelation in the punt returning category.
Carter’s speed and quickness are what helps the offense. While his 4.44 40-time won’t turn heads his 1.45 10-second-split will.
The Texans have used that quick burst to startle defenses as a motioning receiver. That motion is essential, as it does two principal things; startles the defense while running the ball, and let Deshaun Watson know if the opposing defense is in man or zone coverage.
Watch what his pre-snap motion does for the run offense.
Focus on Darius Leonard (No. 53). Initially, Kenny Moore II (No. 23) takes the left side of the field, but once Carter moves it forces Leonard to take his place and seal the edge. However, Carter isn’t done as he runs a second motion when the snap starts. Leonard then decides that the play is a sweep to Carter. But, that’s not the case as the run is actually a zone run to Lamar Miller with a motion to take out the Colts best defensive player from the play. Not only is this a great play call from O’Brien/Watson, but it is a right personnel move in putting in Carter to execute it.
Again, notice what Carter’s motion does to the run game. The defense has to respect how quick Carter is, and they do here. The defenders that are able to see the motion are forced to pay attention, which in turn gives Lamar Miller a half step advantage to gain six yards.
And then watch what that motion does for Deshaun Watson.
Carter’s motion plays a key role in this play below, a 27-yard completion to DeAndre Hopkins. Carter’s pre-snap motion is so effective that Hopkins is able to find himself wide open.
Notice that Buster Skrine (No. 41) follows Carter to the opposite side of the line to cover his man. This signals man coverage. But that’s not all. When Carter again moves to the opposite side of the line, it forces Jamal Adams (No. 33) to play out of position as a man coverage safety. The Jets must respect his speed, in turn, taking out their best roaming defensive player which originally looked like he was double covering DeAndre Hopkins.
What is interesting to me is that Coutee has a very similar (yet expanded) role within the Texans offense. If Coutee plays on Sunday versus the Eagles don’t be surprised to see the same sort of motion fakes to help Deshaun, and whomever runs the ball.