Andre Johnson Injury: How Much of a Downgrade Is Jacoby Jones for Texans?

Ryan Phillips@@RumorsandRantsContributor IIIOctober 3, 2011

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 11: Jacoby Jones #12 of the Houston Texans returns a punt return for 80 yards against the Indianapolis Colts for a touchdown on September 11, 2011 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. Texans won 34 to 7. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

The Houston Texans suffered a huge blow when five-time Pro Bowl wideout Andre Johnson pulled his hamstring during Sunday's 17-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Johnson, who has cemented himself as one of the NFL's most dangerous receivers, leaves behind a huge hole that will not likely be filled by the Texans' other receivers.

With Johnson expected to miss a few weeks, Jacoby Jones will step into a starting role, but it would be foolish to expect miracles from him. The fifth-year veteran out of Lane College is a big target with good speed, but he hasn't proven himself to be a guy that quarterback Matt Schaub is comfortable throwing to consistently.

Once Johnson left Sunday's game, Jones had a chance to step up and make some noise. He finished the afternoon with no catches and was only targeted once. Through four games this season, Jones has just seven catches for 91 yards and no touchdowns.

Last year, Jones stepped up and had his best season in the NFL. He finished 2010 with 51 catches for 562 yards and three touchdowns. For some reason, he hasn't been as successful this season. With Johnson out, Houston needs Jones to step up and regain the form he showed in 2010.

As of now, the drop-off from Johnson to Jones is gigantic. Johnson had become one of the most reliable wideouts in all of football, while his teammate hasn't even established himself as a reliable starter. With their star receiver likely out for a while, expect the Texans to lean heavily on their Arian Foster-led rushing attack until Jones proves he can be a solid target for Schaub.