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Texans Remain Confident In K Fairbairn

Houston Texans special teams coach Frank Ross wants kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn to get stronger after a year to forget.

Kicker John Christian Ka'iminoeauloameka'ikeokekumupa'a Fairbairn (Ka'imi for short) is one of the few remaining players from the Bill O'Brien era of the Houston Texans

But after what was, statistically, his worst year, the Hawaiian may need to impress this preseason.

Despite this, Fairbairn still seems to have the support of special teams coach Frank Ross who felt the veteran "had a strong year." Ross, however, acknowledged that there's always room to grow.

"His is obviously is a more finite skill set," Ross said. "The emphasis we put on it for this year is just continuing to grow his body. He is ... 28 years old. As you get into that, you want to be a sustainable strength as much as possible. Just working on legs, feet and overall strength. He’s done a great job of trying to implement that throughout the spring." 

Fairbairn is entering his sixth season since going undrafted out of UCLA, and prior to last season, he hadn't missed a game during that span.

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However, a brief stint on injured reserve forced him to miss the first three weeks of the 2021 season, before COVID-19 knocked him out of their Week 16 clash against the LA Chargers. 

During his 13 active games, Fairbairn was 15-of-19 in field goals (78.9 percent) and 13-of-16 on extra points (81.3 percent). Both represent career-low percentages.

Granted, he wasn't helped by Houston's inability to get its offense within range throughout the season, but that doesn't excuse the missed extra points.

Not that there weren't positives to come out of the season, with Fairbairn hitting a career- and franchise-long 61-yard field goal against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 13.

The Texans don't currently have another kicker on the depth chart, perhaps signaling a level of confidence in the veteran. 

But if Fairbairn is to maintain his status as one of this roster's longest-tenured players, a strong preseason would likely do him a world of good.