The Texans retained three key free agents on the offensive side of the ball this weekend in tackle Rashad Butler, wide receiver Jacoby Jones and quarterback Matt Leinart.
Their respective position coaches talked about each player in separate Q&As for HoustonTexans.com.
Texans offensive line coach John Benton
How happy are you to have Rashad back in the fold as the backup to Duane Brown and Eric Winston?
"We're obviously very excited to have Rashad. He's been here for several years now. Plays both tackle spots. One play away from being a starter at a critical position for us. Last year when Duane was suspended, Rashad went in and played and played very well. He showed he is capable of being a starter in this league, and I think that's a lot of the reason he was looking around. So obviously, to get a player of his quality for that role on our team, we couldn't be happier.
How impressive is Rashad's preparation each week?
"It's a challenge for the third tackle; he's got to be just in tune with the game plan as a player who's going to play every day. Rashad, he's like a steel trap when it comes to the game plan information. He knows both tackle spots. He really could go in and tell us what to do at every spot on the field. Incredibly intelligent, does the due diligence every week to study opponents, to study the game plan, to study the adjustments. Just tremendously prepared, and to do that week in and week out not knowing if you'll play one snap or 60 snaps during the game, that takes mental toughness right there."
Texans wide receivers coach Larry Kirksey
What are your expectations for Jacoby moving forward?
"When you look at Jacoby, he's very talented. He's improved his playing strength from the first year he was here. I just think the biggest thing with him now is going to be consistency. A lot of times, people don't realize what we ask him to do. We ask him to line up and play all three wide receiver positions – two positions and then go inside and play the third position – and so sometimes we forget that he's all over the place. But if he aspires to be great, then if he can play one spot, he has to be able to play those other two, too. I think he did a good job from that standpoint last year, but I think it affected his overall play where he had some drops that he can't have and be productive in this offense. At the same time, I think the skill set is there and he has to mature just a little bit more. He has matured some, but now he's got to take his game to a whole new level if he's here from the standpoint that those drops just can't happen."
Texans quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp
How excited are you to have Leinart back after the progress you saw him make last season?
"We're very excited to get Matt back. He made great progress in the limited time that we had him last year, and to get him before training camp begins this year will be a big help so he can get a lot of reps in our system. Unfortunately, we got him last year at the end of training camp, and so a lot of his work was on the scout team and not so much on our offense. So this will be a great next three or four weeks for him to really get a better understanding of our offense."
What are some of the things he did particularly well?
"His classroom work, for one. He really took on the grasp of the offense, and as the season went on, you could see how much more comfortable he got. It was easy for him to say the offense, visualize it, call out the reads, call out the progressions. And then on the field, seeing his footwork improve from the first week we had him to Week 17 at the end of the year, he really took great pride in spending the extra time to become a better player on the field with his mechanics. Did the extra practice time before practice, after practice. Even on Sundays, he was out there three hours before kickoff with me and working on about 20-30 minute in individual period. You can see that he still has that strong desire to make himself better."
How comfortable are you with him as the No. 2 quarterback behind Matt Schaub?
"I feel very comfortable, and it's because of what I went through in last year's progress with him. To see the improvement he made in his footwork and his knowledge of the system, I'm very comfortable."