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Will OL Shuffle Fix Texans' Futile Running Game?

Houston Texans offensive lineman Tytus Howard has lined up at guard and tackle this year, but where should he start?

Continuity has been near impossible to come by for the Houston Texans' offensive linemen thanks to injuries and poor play. The only player to start every game this year along the line is Tytus Howard.

In Sunday's 21-14 loss to the New York Jets, Howard remained but was moved to left tackle - his third position since joining the Texans in 2019. 

"I think I did a pretty good job," Howard said. "There’s always stuff I feel like myself, that I can learn on and I can learn from. There’s a couple [of] plays I wish I could’ve been better for my team."

The former first-rounder had a decent game - something which cannot be said for many on this offense. He finished the game with the highest PFF grade of 79.4, and this has prompted many on social media to wonder why the Texans haven't stuck with Howard at tackle all along. This argument could be supported by the fact that Charlie Heck has been inconsistent at right tackle in the absence of injured starter Marcus Cannon.

Regardless, Howard feels comfortable wherever they chose to start him.

"It’s not really like which one I feel better at, because I think I can be a great guard, but I also think I can be a great tackle," Howard said. "For me, it’s just putting the time in and each one on, seeing which one fits me best through this season, and I think that’s my goal."

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And while some have expressed concern about how this constant switching of positions may affect Howard's development, it appears there's little to worry about...

"For me, I really don’t think it affects me at all, to be honest, because we’re all in the NFL," Howard said. "Everybody’s good, so I feel like I go against great guys inside and out. I practiced both throughout the season, throughout camp, throughout the offseason, so when it comes to my development, it’s all about what work I’m putting in. And then my coaches, they’re putting in work with me and stuff like that. As far as development, I feel like no matter if I was at guard or tackle this whole season, each week I feel like I’ve gotten better."

Another change for Howard this past week was starting alongside veteran guard Lane Taylor, who had just been signed to the active roster from the practice squad.

"For me and Lane, I think actually we did pretty good yesterday with double teams," Howard said. "It was good to have him beside me. He’s a vet, he’s been playing this game for a long time. I feel like we got our camaraderie pretty good early on in the game yesterday, so I think working with him was a huge success for the offense, and I think it’s only going to get better with time."

This positive sentiment was shared by coach David Culley who "thought they both played well together."

Next up for Howard, Taylor and the struggling offensive line is a divisional matchup against the Indianapolis Colts and the likes of defensive linemen DeForest Buckner, Darius Leonard, and Kwity Paye.