Tuesday was good for Lovie Smith, the Defensive Coordinator, but for Lovie Smith the Head Coach, it could've been better.
In their third week of Organized Team Activities (OTAs), the Texans defense took the ball away a few times. That was a double-edged sword for Smith, who doubles as the Head Coach and DC.
"We're able to get the ball away through there and punching the ball out quite a few times today," Smith said. "That's good, in my defensive coordinator role. In my head football coach's role, it's not a good thing. It's about ball protection, security, all of those things."
The Texans improved from an NFL-worse nine takeaways in 2020 to 25 in 2021 under Smith. That was tied for the 10th-best mark in the league. Continuing to hunt for the ball on defense remains important, according to veteran defensive back Steven Nelson, who signed with Houston this offseason.
"Hungry, man," Nelson said. "We're starting to understand that takeaways, when you win that turnover battle, that's a big swing in the game. So, whenever we can take the ball away and put the ball back in the offense hands and they score, we score and that's going to lead to bigger chances to win."
Smith and the Texans were aggressive this offseason in getting better in the secondary. Among the many moves made, they brought Nelson in, and used two of their first three NFL Draft picks on Derek Stingley, Jr. and Jalen Pitre. Smith is seeing improvement.
"They are getting better, the secondary is," Smith said. "You had different guys making plays. Defensively, you have to show up. It's just not about covering and tackling. It's about taking the ball away."
The Texans will continue with OTAs this week at the Houston Methodist Training Center, and will hold a veteran minicamp next week.