Texans secondary "coming together" early in camp

The Texans secondary will have a different look this season.

Houston has Sunday off after practicing in pads on Friday and Saturday. The defensive backfield has a few new faces in veteran safeties Eric Murray, Michael Thomas and Jaylen Watkins, as well as draftee John Reid at cornerback. Cornerbacks Gareon Conley and Vernon Hargreaves, III joined the club in the middle of last season, and safety Justin Reid has two healthy shoulders again after battling those injuries in 2019. Cornerback Bradley Roby is fully acclimated after a full offseason and regular season with the Texans.

Optimism abounds.

"I'm very happy and very excited for another year," Roby said. "Last year we were kind of grabbing guys from different teams and things like that during the season, trying to get a cohesiveness down. Now we have a full year in together and I think that's only going to help us."

First-year defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver likes what he sees from the secondary, and is encouraged by the experience many of the veterans possess.

"We have a bunch of guys who have been in the fires, who have had success in this league and now as they're coming together as a unit, communicating day in and day out," Weaver said. "It's been awesome to see that growth they're making each and every day."

Just about everyone in the defensive backfield can, and will, play two or more positions this season. Secondary coach D'Anton Lynn explained.

"In the past, when I first got here, we kind of just had corners, nickels and safeties," Lynn said. "If you look at our secondary group now, a lot of guys have played different spots. Murray, he's played safety, he's played corner, he's played Star. Justin's played safety and played Star. We have corners who can play in the slot, slot guys who can play on the outside. We're just trying to teach everyone the defense conceptually so that way we can always have the best 11 guys out there on the field."

Murray signed this offseason after spending 2019 in Cleveland, and the three years before that with the Chiefs. General manager/Head coach Bill O'Brien said he'll start in a variety of packages this season.

"He's had a versatile type of career and he's a very smart guy," O'Brien said. "I think he can fill a of different roles for us. We have a lot of different packages on defense where he's going to be in there quite a bit and then he's going to help us on special teams."

The Texans will return to practice on Monday at the Houston Methodist Training Center.

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