When he played, Keke Coutee was a difference-maker for the Texans offense last season.
But a balky hamstring let him play in just six regular season games, as well as the playoff loss to the Colts. That must change, according to head coach Bill O'Brien, and he believes it will.
"He's learned a lot about it, we're going to be better with it and I think it's going to produce better results, obviously," O'Brien said on Tuesday in Phoenix at the NFL Annual Meeting. "That can't really happen again where you've got a guy that's an excellent player and he missed three quarters of the season with a hamstring. That's us and the player trying to get better."
Coutee was a fourth-round selection in last year's NFL Draft, and he instantly impressed at rookie minicamp, OTAs and the start of training camp.
But he injured his hamstring early on at The Greenbrier in West Virginia, and didn't play in a preseason contest. Ultimately, Coutee didn't suit up until Week 4 at Indianapolis.
He delivered against the Colts, catching 11 passes for 110 yards and helping Houston to the first of what would be nine straight victories in an 11-win season.
The hamstring injury kept him out of seven of the final 12 regular season games.
O'Brien, though, said Coutee is better prepared now for the rigors of an NFL offseason, preseason and regular season.
"He knows now what to expect from a running standpoint and how to get his body ready for practice, get his body ready for the weight room sessions," O'Brien said.
Coutee's struggles caused the Texans to make some changes in how they prepare the players for life in the League.
"That's been a major emphasis for us in our medical meetings, our strength coach meetings, how to ramp these guys up for the season," O'Brien said. "We've changed some of our thoughts on some of the things we do."
Offseason conditioning will bring the squad back together at NRG Stadium on April 15.
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