With additions to the safety position group, the Texans hope to use the offseason program to help develop chemistry in a newly revamped secondary led by second-year starter Justin Reid.
“The chemistry in the back end is big because there are some guys that are new, relative to Bradley Roby and Tashaun Gipson and those guys have come in and done a really nice job,” head coach Bill O’Brien said. “They’re smart players. Our defense is different than the ones they played in and our defense requires a ton of communication and things like that and our guys do a good job of coaching it and those guys are working hard to learn it and they are doing a really nice job so far but that’s a big part of the offseason program.”
Tashaun Gipson, who spent the last three seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2016-18), has a skill set is similarly interchangeable with Reid’s, according to general manager Brian Gaine. Last season, Reid was the only NFL rookie to record at least 80 total tackles, three interceptions, 10 passes defensed and seven total special teams tackles in 2018. The Texans former third-round draft pick also added an interception returned 101 yards for a touchdown, one quarterback hits, two tackles for loss, once forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. Reid's first-year success and knowledge of the defense makes him a key building block of the safety group.
“He’s (Reid's) one of those guys that is definitely a versatile player that can do a lot of different things,” O’Brien said. “He can play on special teams. He can obviously play on the back end of the defense. He can play down in the box and he’s willing to do anything for the team and that’s what you like about our young players.”
Last week, the Texans signed the veteran Jahleel Addae, who spent the last six years with the Los Angeles Chargers (2013-18) and started all 16 games in each of the last two seasons. Addae compiled 356 total tackles (271 solo), 21 passes defensed, two interceptions (including one returned for a touchdown), 4.5 sacks, 18 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and 16 total special teams tackles during his time with the Chargers.
Addae is expected to help fill the gap left by newly-retired Andre Hal, who battled his way back on the field after his Hodgkin's Lymphoma diagnosis last May.
“With great respect to Andre Hal, we appreciate all of Andre Hal’s contributions to the team but when we lost Andre, there was still a little bit of a void in terms of veteran experience at the position,” general manager Brian Gaine said. “So here’s a guy that has played both strong safety and free safety, played in some playoff games and he’s an experienced vet to come in and contribute in any way that he can. We saw it as an opportunity to improve the depth as it relates to the experience at the position – a guy that’s been both a starter, a backup, a substitution player and equally been a fourth-down player in his past. Fits our culture, fits our program, fits our expectations, we’re excited to have him.”
The Houston Texans roster in photos. (Updated 11/17/2019)