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Can A.J. Moore Help Houston Texans Beat Patriots via Special Teams?

Texans' A.J. Moore relishes return after long wait

HOUSTON -- For Houston Texans safety A.J. Moore, it was a satisfying return after a long wait to get back on the football field.

Moore missed the first three games of the season and most of the preseason with a strained hamstring. Moore was activated from injured reserve-designated for return and played nine snaps on defense and every snap on special teams during a 40-0 road loss to the Buffalo Bills. He had one tackle on special teams.

“It wasn’t that bad," Moore said of the leg injury. "I just needed rest to be able to get back to 100 percent, to go out and do my job at a high level. It feels great to be back out there with the boys, just be able to help contribute to getting wins on Sundays. The time was much needed, and I’m back and I’m healthy and I’m ready to help my team.”

Now that Moore is back, he's set his ambitions on contributing more to a 1-3 Texans team mired in a three-game losing streak.

The Texans submitted a $2.133 million original round tender for Moore this offseason.

A former undrafted free agent from Mississippi who started his career with the New England Patriots, Sunday's opponent at NRG Stadium, Moore is a special-teams standout who started five of 11 games last season despite missing time on injured reserve with a strained hamstring.

The Texans like Moore's range and competitiveness. He recorded a career-high 35 tackles in 2020 with one sack and two quarterback hits.

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The Texans contemplated a longer-term deal with Moore during the regular season, but nothing developed as a few preliminary proposals were discussed.

Moore is determined to turn things around and was reluctant to compare the Texans' atmosphere to his experience in New England.

“I feel like this Texans team is very unique," he said. "I can’t compare it to anywhere else.We know hard work here. It’s business, and we love playing football.

"I can’t compare it to anywhere else, but the vibe here is great. All of the guys, we love each other, we play for each other and we just love putting it all on the line for each other."

The Patriots' offense is led by rookie quarterback Mac Jones, a first-round draft pick from Alabama known for his quick release. 

"They’re led by a young guy, Mac Jones, who’s pretty good," Moore said. "They have pretty good tight ends, good, versatile backs. They’re pretty good, we just have to go out and play Texan defense and we’ll be alright.”

READ MORE: Texans' QB: Who Starts When Taylor Is Healthy?