AJ McCarron has settled in nicely with the Texans offense.
The backup quarterback signed with the club in free agency this offseason, and just completed organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp. His work ethic and professionalism made a big impression on head coach Bill O'Brien, even on the days when McCarron's not required to be in the building.
"He shows up on the days when the vets have off," O'Brien said. "He comes in with the rookies. He works with the rookies. He's really put a lot of time into learning this offense and hopefully we can see the reward of that type of labor when we get to training camp."
McCarron said he chose to sign with Houston because "it's close" to his hometown of Mobile, Alabama, and "it was a great fit". After starting his career with the Bengals in 2014, he spent last spring and summer with the Bills before getting traded west to the Raiders. So far, he's liked working with starter Deshaun Watson, reserve Joe Webb, III and quarterbacks coach Carl Smith. McCarron said he's learned a lot from Watson, and has been able to pass along a thing or two to him as well.
"It's always important for QBs to bounce ideas off of each other, whether that's during the game him coming from the sideline, being along the lines of, 'Hey what did you see right here?,'" McCarron said. "Or me just going up and telling him, 'Hey just be aware, you've got this on the backside.' Things along those lines. We're here for one goal, and that's to win. We're all on the same team, we're all going to push each other and compete to make each other better, but we're here to win."
Through five NFL seasons, McCarron's been on playoff teams in Cincinnati, and also seen tough times there and in Oakland. Twice in college, McCarron guided Alabama to a national championship. The mix in Houston has him excited for 2019 and beyond.
"The group of guys this team has could be a very special group," McCarron said. "Like we all know, the season is a rollercoaster. It's going to be ups and downs and trying to stay healthy, and all that weighs into the overall process of it. But it's a special group."
McCarron and the Texans are off until training camp, which begins on July 25 at the Houston Methodist Training Center.
The Houston Texans roster in photos. (Updated 3/1/2021)