Houston Texans General Manager Nick Caserio addressed the media on Tuesday ahead of the Bye Week.
Here are four key takeaways:
Caserio was asked five different questions about the 2022 rookie class or about specific players. He credited his scouting department led by James Liipfert for the early success of the group. However, Caserio also wants to see consistency over a longer period of time before making any judgements.
"I don't think we can get too excited about where we are, just got to be realistic," Caserio said. "It's really about repetitive behavior over the course of time. Anybody can go out there and do it in a short period of time. Can you sustain that performance week after week, month after month and season after season, and ultimately your longevity is going to be based on that. We've gotten decent production out of that group but I think the attitude and the mindset probably stands out more than anything."
Caserio used RB Dameon Pierce, who currently ranks third in the AFC and fifth in the NFL in rushing yards (412), as an example.
"So Monday is the off day for players and yesterday, he's in squatting 425," Caserio said. "People wonder why is he successful on the field? Well he's successful because he works hard, he's got the right attitude, he's a good teammate, he trusts the people around him, he gives credit to his teammates, the offensive line, to the tight ends, doesn't make it about himself."
2. Quarterback play
Along with consistency from the rookies, Caserio wants to see it from the rest of the team. When asked about QB Davis Mills, Caserio feels the struggles are team-related and sees potential if there is continued improvement.
"I think overall as a team we just need to be more consistent with our performance," Caserio said. "There's been some good things, there's been some things that we can certainly do better. To put Davis (Mills) in that category, I think it's more emblematic of the team more than anything else and making it about one player. Had some moments as a team. We could have better moments. If we do that, hopefully that'll lead to more wins."
Caserio's vision for a successful offensive scheme between OC and QB is pretty straightforward.
"In the end, offensive football is about moving the ball and scoring points," he said. "How do you do that? Every team has their philosophy. Every team has a different approach. Quarterback position, I don't care who the quarterback is, what team you're talking about, we have to make the right decision, take care of the football, throw the ball accurately, and then be able to execute in critical situations. Pick a winner. That's what your quarterback has to be able to do. Tell me the scheme, doesn't matter the offense, doesn't matter what you're running. Those are things that are important. Offensively, move the ball, score points and get the ball in the end zone."
3. RB Depth
The Texans currently use Pierce and Rex Burkhead in their ground game. In Sunday's game against the Jaguars, Pierce played about 79 percent of snaps on offense while Burkhead was in for the remaining 21 percent. Caserio alluded to the use of a few other backs as the season progresses.
"We really have five backs called in the building, two on the practice squad," Caserio said. "Royce (Freeman) has played for us, played in the NFL. Dare (Ogunbowale) has had opportunities in Jacksonville when he's had to carry the ball. (Dameon) Pierce has gotten the ball, carries. Rex (Burkhead) has a good role, but not afraid to use Dare or to your early question, Royce on the practice squad. At some point, Royce might become and option. We're going to need everybody here from now until the end of the season."
4. Practice squad movement
The Texans are one of the few teams that have elevated two players from practice squad to the active roster for each game. Most teams elevate just one player, according to Caserio. Each team can elevate a player up to three times. After that, they must place him on the active roster in order to make him available for a game.
"It's week-to-week, and we'll kind of look at where we are as a team, what do we need for that week and just try to make the right decision for us," Caserio said.
TE Jordan Akins has reached that maximum limit of elevations since being signed to the active roster on Aug. 31. Akins has caught seven passes for 86 yards, averaging 12.3 yards per catch, and one touchdown through three games. The Texans released veteran TE Pharaoh Brown last week. Second-year TE Brevin Jordan has missed three games with an ankle injury and rookie Teagan Quitoriano is on the Reserve/Injured list. According to Caserio, the tight end group might see some roster movements soon.
"We'll probably have some things to get that position, Brevin (Jordan) is going to be back here at some point. TQ (Teagan Quitoriano) could potentially be back here at some point as well," he said. "Jordan has done a good job with his opportunities. O.J. (Howard) has done a good job with his opportunities. Mason (Schreck) gone in there and helped us here a little bit. You know, we'll look at that and try to make the right decision, the best decision relative to what we think helps us in the game."
After their Week 6 bye, the Texans travel to Las Vegas to face the Raiders on Oct. 23.