In 2020, the Houston Texans ranked 31st in the league in rushing yards, 30th in rushing touchdowns and lost 305 yards on sacks. Since 2017, they've allowed an almost unfathomable 215 sacks.
Let those stats sink in, because it's clear general manager Nick Caserio did.
This offseason he not only revamped the coaching staff, including a new offensive line coach, but also brought in a number of veterans to hopefully improve the line.
In the preseason, at least, the moves appear to be paying off.
"I think we’ve got a really physical group up front," center Justin Britt said this week. "I think they’ve done a really good job of building this corps and having Camp (Offensive Line Coach James Campen) and Koogs (Assistant Offensive Line / Offensive Assistant Robert Kugler) to lead the way. I think we’re going to be real physical and dominant."
Britt will take over as starting center from Nick Martin this season, one of two or possibly even three new starters to join this line in 2021.
Source: Texans Working Out Former 1st-Rounder, 2 Other Vets
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While Laremy Tunsil will retain his role at left tackle and Tytus Howard looks likely to keep his starting job (maybe at left guard), elsewhere it could be multiple changes. Max Scharping could start at right guard, but if not then new arrival Justin McCray looks a likely candidate until fellow newcomer Lane Taylor is healthy.
"LT (Tunsil), he’s one of the best in the league at left tackle, so he knows what he’s doing," Britt said. "Him and Tytus have played together. Tytus has played left guard, so it’s not new to him. He just has to get ‘re-familiar’ with it. Their relationship on the left side’s pretty close, so it’s easy for them to play next to each other. Max is as smart as they come as far as it goes being an O-lineman, knowing the playbook, the defenses, so it’s been night-and-day for him."
At right tackle, with Charlie Heck now on the COVID-19 list, it's up to former New England Patriot Marcus Cannon to take over.
"I mean there’s a reason why he’s a three-time world champ, one of them against me," Britt said of Cannon. "But seeing him come back, he looks fresh as ever, bouncy, quick, fast, explosive. He looks like what you would expect of someone of his caliber and what he’s done in the NFL to look like at this point."
If the Texans have any hope of turning a new leaf on their recent trials and tribulations along the offensive line, they'll need the likes of Tunsil and Cannon to be at their best.
Only time will tell whether or not this strategy works, but Britt has faith: "We’ve got a veteran team, a veteran O-line, a lot of experience up there and it’s going to pay off."
CONTINUE READING: Texans' Laremy Tunsil making progress in return from COVID-19