This time a year ago, Duane Brown was in the early stages of a return from season-ending quadriceps injury.
Now the left tackle is thankful to be in the midst of a healthy offseason.
The Pro Bowler was hurt in Week 17 of the 2015 season, and missed all of OTAs, training camp and the first four games of 2016. He played part of the Week 5 loss at Minnesota, but started every game the rest of the season.
"I'm looking forward to it," Brown said Tuesday night. "An off season of just getting my leg right back to
100%, being able to rest it finally and then just start a regular offseason over working on things that I want to work on, just little nuances of the game, and I'm looking forward to coming back and being able to start training camp and OTAs."
Brown played every snap of every game from Week 6 through Week 16, even though he had to join his teammates mid-stream. According to the 9-year veteran, getting valuable time to hone his skills in between now and the start of OTAs is a big benefit.
"Just being able to work at my craft in the offseason, I wasn't able to do that much last offseason," Brown said. "It was all about rehabbing, so being able to get back to work on my craft – it'll be a big year for me."
Brown said he and the offensive line are looking for improvement in 2017.
"It's all about us being better up front," Brown said. "I think we had some very key injuries going into the season. Some guys that hadn't played much football had to play a lot, just guys moving around a lot. I think getting a healthy five that starts to gel from day 1 will help us a lot in pass protection, and that's the main thing. Keeping the quarterback upright and giving him time to operate. I think anybody would be successful back there."
The Texans will gather together for offseason conditioning workouts at NRG Stadium and the Houston Methodist Training Center in April.
LT Duane Brown's time as a Texan and Virginia Tech Hokie is chronicled here in photos.