The question isn't whether Bradley Roby is the Houston Texans' No. 1 cornerback.
The question is whether Bradley Roby is a No. 1 cornerback.
“I think he has that skillset to be able to do that," says new Texans defensive coordinator Lovie Smith said. "Excellent speed, quickness, change of direction, all of that. He’s a willing tackler. We need him to be our one cornerback ...''
No doubt there. Roby, 29, who a year ago signed to a three-year, $36 million contract, figures as the top-of-the-totem-pole guy in a cornerbacks room that also features Terrance Mitchell, Desmond King and Vernon Hargreaves.
He's paid that way. And in the AFC South, as Smith points out? He'll need to play that way.
"You just look at our division,'' Lovie says. "The division seems like daily it’s getting stronger at the wide receiver position.''
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The Indianapolis Colts and T.Y. Hilton? Yeah, a traditional problem. The Tennessee Titans trading for Julio Jones to add to A.J. Brown. Yeah, a new problem. The Jacksonville Jaguars continuing to built their pass-catching group but now with top rookie QB Trevor Lawrence as the centerpiece?
Yes, Roby needs to be the solution.
Roby (who is suspended for the first game of the season as he finishes a punishment for a violation of the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy), wasn't near enough of a help last season. Houston, of course, struggled to that 4-12 record.
To be better than that? Roby will need to be better.
"There will be some big challenges that we’ll have,'' Smith says. "We’ll need to be able to match up on the outside and we feel like we’ll have not just Bradley that can do it, but others also.”
If Bradley Roby is Houston's No. 1 cornerback, that'll be a start. But if he's more than that?The Texans can be more than they are expected to be as well.