DECEMEBER 15: Anderson has indeed been ruled out on the Texans’ injury report. His recent uptick in production will be interrupted, while Houston will enter Week 15 notably shorthanded on both sides of the ball. After not practicing all week, Anderson’s ability to return to the field in any capacity will be worth monitoring following the Titans contest.
DECEMBER 14: The Texans are in the thick of the AFC playoff picture, but they are in danger of being severely shorthanded on both sides of the ball for their next game. Quarterback C.J. Stroud is in the league’s concussion protocol, and the team’s other top-three rookie could also miss a contest for the first time in his career.
Edge rusher Will Anderson suffered a high ankle sprain in the Texans’ loss to the Jets on Sunday, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 reports. As a result, Anderson has been in a walking boot over the past few days and he has not practiced. While there is still time for a turnaround, signs point to Anderson missing the upcoming contest against the Titans, Wilson adds.
Anderson has managed to suit up for every game so far in his rookie season, one which began with substantial expectations. The Texans pulled off a major trade-up to acquire the No. 3 pick in April’s draft after using the previous selection to add Stroud. Houston had been expected by many to forego drafting a quarterback at the top of the board to instead choose Anderson, widely seen as the 2023 class’ top edge rusher. Instead, the team managed to draft both, and they have each played a signficant role in the Texans’ impressive season to date.
While Stroud has drawn considerable praise for his performances throughout the year (Week 14 being a notable exception), Anderson endured a cold spell during the early part of the campaign. After a six-game sack drought, however, the latter has racked up four sacks across the past six games, bringing his total in that department to five. The Alabama alum has also produced 42 tackles, 19 QB hits and 27 pressures in 2023.
Those figures have helped the 22-year-old generate a PFF grade of 80.5, which ranks 18th amongst qualified edge rushers. Missing Anderson would thus deal a signficant blow to the Texans’ defense, a unit which already sits outside the top 20 in the league in sacks. Fellow defensive end Jonathan Greenard – who has produced a career-best and team-leading 10 sacks in his walk year – would be counted on even more in the event Anderson were unable to suit up in Week 15.
Houston is one of six AFC teams sitting at 7-6 on the year, and the absence of Stroud (if he were unable to clear concussion protocol) would significantly hinder the team’s offense. The Texans would likewise be significantly affected on defense if Anderson is unable to return to practice in the coming days.