The Houston Texans added some more offensive weapons, TE O.J. Howard and WR Tyler Johnson, for Davis Mills and the offense. Both players practiced with the team Monday at the Houston Methodist Training Center and attended meetings, quickly getting up to speed with the new playbook.
"It was good," Howard said Monday. "To be able to get out there with the guys and just hear the terminology in the huddle. It's different when you can hear it in the position meetings but to finally get in the huddle and try to go out and do it and assimilate it, it was good to get it done."
Signed by the Texans on Sept. 2, Howard was a 2017 first-round draft pick for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. During his five seasons with the Bucs, he started 46-of-59 career games, catching 119 passes for 1,737 yards (14.6 avg.) and 15 touchdowns.
"You're always trying to add good players, simple as that, and O.J. (Howard) is a good player," Head Coach Lovie Smith said Monday. "A lot of talent. He's excited about being here. Got a chance to see him on the practice field today. That's a spot we've talked an awful lot about, adding some depth to the tight end position. Being able to pick up a player like that late in the game like this, is pretty important."
Houston also claimed Johnson, another former Buccaneer, off waivers on Aug. 31. Both Johnson and Howard were teammates for the past two seasons, catching passes from Tom Brady.
"It's pretty cool to have a familiar face around," Johnson said. "We're going through the same thing here but we both can't wait to ball out."
A former fifth-round pick in 2020, Johnson had a strong finish to his 2021 campaign, catching 16 passes for 130 yards between Weeks 13-18. He also played in two playoff games with one start, catching five passes for 45 yards.
Although both Howard and Johnson joined after training camp and preseason, their ability to get up to speed will determine their role in Sunday's season opener against the Indianapolis Colts.
"He and O.J. (Howard), we got a chance to see both of them, knew about them, and Tyler (Johnson) of course, from college when he was at Minnesota," Smith said. "Liked what we saw today. For us to bring a player in right now, we had to like him. He's done a lot of good things. Always trying to improve our ball club. Nick (Caserio) and the crew, all of us, will try and continue to do that. We'll see how quickly he can get up. Again, coming in, had a few days to get our system, so we'll see how quick he can get it."