*At the conclusion of June's minicamp, HoustonTexans.com huddled with the team's position coaches to get their respective thoughts on the projected starters. This is the fifth 'Coaches Commentary' in a series of articles that will go through the roster, position by position.
Offensive line coach John Benton has a trio a of Pro Bowlers at his disposal in
LT Duane Brown
1st-team All-Pro in 2012
“It’s really exciting to see Duane and how well he’s playing now, being able to be with him since he was a rookie and come along to become arguably the best left tackle in the league. He does so well with so many things; he’s athletic, he’s powerful, he’s smart. His athleticism allows him to block the best defenders in the league but, more than that, we’re able to use his great ability to run and work in space to game plan around Duane and the things he can do.
He really brings an element to our whole offense. He’s become a true student of the game and is really a complete player. He brings a lot to the table both in the run game and in protection.
LG Wade Smith
Selected to 2013 Pro Bowl
“Wade made his first Pro Bowl and is going into his eleventh year. He came in several years ago and became a leader on the line and a productive player.
He’s a highly, highly intelligent player that brings a lot to the group not only on the field and in his play but in the meeting rooms and with the younger players. He holds down that left side and is one of those players that makes the guys around him play better.
He’s our player with that little touch of nasty that sets up our mentality in a lot of ways. A great effort player.”
C Chris Myers
Pro Bowler in 2012 and 2013
“Chris has really become a force for us. He’s been a steady, steady performer at a very high level for a number of years. He’s very intelligent in understanding defenses, adjustments, and is always ahead of the game.
Got his second Pro Bowl last year, very much earned. He’s a self-made player over the years and he fits well into our scheme. He’s got great first-step quickness along with that intelligence. I thought he had one of his best OTAs this year.
We’re really going to count on him as a leader because he’s the guy who gets everything started and gets everyone going in the right direction every play of every game. But at the same time, he’s a very intense individual that keeps his head down and doesn’t like to be in the limelight because he’s focused on what he’s doing. I lean on him quite a bit as a coach.”
RG Brandon Brooks
Played in 6 games as a rookie in 2012
“Brandon’s a player we knew would be a developmental player from the start when we drafted him, but just tremendous upside. He’s got good athleticism to go along with an outstanding size, strength and explosiveness.
It’s really been fun to watch him form about the middle of last year developing into a spot player, and this year we expect to really take the reins at the right guard spot. He really provides us with a presence on that side.
He’s had an outstanding OTAs and offseason, and we’re just looking for that to pull through. This offseason he lost quite a bit of weight, and he’s really feeling good about it now. He’s always been impressive, even at 30 pounds heavier, he was still a very athletic and powerful player.”
RT Derek Newton
Started 14 games in 2012, his second season
“Derek’s a big, powerful player with pretty good athletics. He’s got good length, and I really feel like he’s developing a very good knowledge of the offense. All the talent in the world. You really expect him to be a player on the rise.
He had the injury in the season and missed a little time but really showed a lot of toughness coming back and playing hurt the last four games of the year but finding a way to contribute positively.”