Roderick Johnson is better.
Bill O'Brien wants him to keep it up.
The offensive lineman, who started at left tackle in Saturday's preseason win over Detroit, has improved since joining the team a year ago in June. Last season saw Johnson shuttle between the 53-man roster and the practice squad a couple times. A fifth-rounder in the 2017 NFL Draft, the head coach said the former Cleveland Brown is "light years" ahead of where he was when he arrived, but needs to continue improving.
"He's playing with more confidence," O'Brien said. "Again, the key is can he do it again? It's one game, preseason game. It's important for him, but can he do it again? Can he do it again against the Cowboys?"
Johnson and the offensive line kept quarterback Deshaun Watson upright in his lone drive against the Lions. The offense went 75 yards on 11 plays, and scored when Watson found DeAndre Hopkins for a 4-yard touchdown strike. Watson noticed the work of Johnson.
"Rod's been awesome, just his spirit and his joy; just his love of the game," Watson said. "He's been doing a heck of a job and I'm comfortable sitting in the pocket with him at left tackle."
Check out the best preseason Week 2 images from Texans team photographer Zach Tarrant. Presented by Houston Methodist.
Watson completed 5-of-7 passes for 60 yards versus Detroit, and wasn't sacked. He detailed what Johnson's done to get better.
"He's a guy that works his tail off," Watson said. "He plays hard; he has a lot of effort; he's very disciplined and he doesn't make too many mistakes."
Johnson started in place of veteran Matt Kalil, who O'Brien said will be back at work this week in practice and against the Cowboys.
Kickoff in Arlington is set for 6 p.m. CT.
Houston Texans fans come out to NRG Stadium for the first home preseason game against the Detroit Lions.