There are some good, old-timey theories on how to assemble an offensive line. One goes something like this: "Give me the five best blockers, regardless of anything else, as long as one of them can put the ball up between his legs.''
And there you have it.
New Houston Texans offensive line coach James Campen, who has been around the NFL long enough to be well-aware of "old-timey,'' seems to be an advocate of "The Best 5 Theory.''
Now, who are his best five?
“I think that the competition is what’s going to be really exciting,” Campen said. “It’s going to help these players to get the best out of them, to motivate them, and it’s going to be a heck of a camp until this thing kicks off. I’m excited to see how it shakes out. I really am.”
One spot is clear: Pro Bowler Laremy Tunsil is the left tackle. And another spot is clearly set up as the most fierce competition: Third-year right tackle Tytus Howard, thought by some inside Texans HQ to himself be Pro Bowl-capable, is going to find himself battling with former New England Patriots tackle Marcus Cannon for that particular job ... with the Texans having the option of shuffling Howard inside to guard.
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“I think the competition is really more widespread than just two players, and I do believe that,” Campen said.
Campen does concede that as it regards Cannon, who has been a right tackle for the majority of his career, the coach does not “anticipate him moving very much.”
Of course, even if Howard "loses,'' he and the Texans can win. If Cannon is good enough to beat out a good player in Howard, and Howard moves inside? Fine. Now Houston has three "good players'' in the O-line.
Howard, by the way, has done this before, as he played some guard in his rookie season.
“We have eight tackles on our roster right now, and I think seven or eight guys that can play,'' Campen said. "We have some flexibility with our linemen, which I think that is a lineman that can play more than one position and can be trained as such.”
Sounds like a plan.