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Houston Texans

NFC North coaches: Challenge awaits w/Texans

The 2016 schedule comes out soon.

We know the Texans play the NFC North teams. At the NFC Coaches breakfast at the NFL Meetings in Florida, I went to the men in charge to give an early assessment of the Texans.

"Bill O'Brien's done a great job and I have a lot of respect for Romeo Crennel as a defensive coordinator," Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said.

And he had company. Detroit's Jim Caldwell, who coached the Colts, is mightily impressed.

"I was in the same division with them for a number of years and think they're a fine organization," Caldwell said. "Bill O'Brien has done a tremendous job. You can tell he's got his guys eager and ready to go. They play great defense with one of the great players to ever play the game."

J.J. Watt was, of course, a theme. Mike McCarthy of Green Bay was quick to praise the Pewaukee, Wisc. native.

"When you think of the Texans you think of J.J.," McCarthy said. "I've got to give the Wisconsin guy some love."

But McCarthy wasn't finished.

"Bill O'Brien has done an excellent job," McCarthy said. "When you look at a football team you ask 'do they emulate their head coach' and he's done that there, he's got that established. Obviously with the new quarterback, that's something we'll all be watching. They'll be a tough opponent."

And Chicago's John Fox is familiar with the Texans from having practiced and played in the preseason against them as coach at Denver in 2014.


"Talented team," Fox said. "Played really good defense this year. Kind of leaned on that a little bit but to get into the playoffs from where they were, they did a really good job."

Caldwell also respects the offense.

"When you look at them from an offensive standpoint they're a team that gives you all kinds of problems," Caldwell said. "Schematically they know how to hurt you."

The Detroit and Chicago games will be at NRG stadium. The Texans hit the road for Green Bay and Minnesota for the first time since 2008.

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