"Chemistry" on O-line has OC Tim Kelly excited about 2020

The Texans offensive line has Tim Kelly excited.

The offensive coordinator met with the media via Zoom on Wednesday, and pointed to continuity up front as a reason for that excitement.

Houston returns the five starters from the season before. Left to right, tackle Laremy Tunsil, guard Max Scharping, center Nick Martin, guard Zach Fulton and tackle Tytus Howard are all under contract and slated to go in 2020.

That quintet started six games together last season, and the Texans went 5-1 in those contests.

"It's the first time that we've had all five starters back since we've been here," Kelly said. "That position especially, there's a lot of chemistry that goes into that position of playing next to one another, how certain people are going to handle certain blocks and how it's going to feel and the different responses and reactions that you'll get."

Scharping and Howard were rookies in 2019, with the former getting into the lineup at left guard in Week 3, while the latter played a few spots up front before exiting because of injury in December. Martin and Fulton were holdovers from 2018, while the Pro Bowler Tunsil was acquired via trade just over a week before the start of the regular season.

Kelly's confident Tunsil will be even better in 2020.

"Him being here for the offseason is going to be very beneficial," Kelly said. "Again, more importantly, when we all get together, him being able to get those training camp reps, those reps with the offensive line, with Max and things like that are – I can't stress how important those are for an offensive line to be able to kind of come together and play as one unit. It's a good thing that we have all five of those guys coming back."

In an April Zoom conference, Tunsil agreed that the extra time in the sytsem would be beneficial.

"The main thing with me last year was the playbook," Tunsil said. "I came at a late time, only had a couple of days to prepare for the game. But just to have that whole season, then this offseason under my belt, I think it's going to help me with this playbook and my relationship with the players, and us being on the same page. I think that's going to help a lot."

Martin, meanwhile, also likes knowing the starting five will be the same that enjoyed success together in 2019.

"Everyone's going to be back for the first time in a long time," Martin said. "So we're going to have guys who have played with each other through a whole season, and then continued on.That's what we want to continue: keep playing with each other, keep getting better."

The Texans continue to meet on a virtual basis, and will open the regular season on September 10 at Kansas City.

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