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The Leftovers: Improvement plans, projections and more

Angus Johnson: Dear Drew, do you think there will be competition for the starting tight end job or do you think Jordan Thomas will enter the season as the starter?
DD: There will absolutely be competition, and nobody's been handed the starting job yet. Thomas led the tight end group in touchdown catches, but Jordan Akins had more receiving yards and more yards per catch last year. Darren Fells was signed as a free agent, and although the guy labeled as a 'blocking tight end' jokingly describes himself as a 'left, left tackle', he's caught a combined 10 touchdowns over the last four seasons. Plus, the team used a third round pick in April on Kahale Warring, and all he did was impress throughout rookie minicamp, OTAs and veteran minicamp. I've talked about it quite a bit, quite a few time this offseason with John Harris, and I think you'll see the Texans employ more two, and three tight end sets in 2019. It gives them a lot of flexibility and forces opposing defenses to keep specific personnel on the field that the Texans might be able to exploit.

@GoldenBoyDeegar: Dear Drew, Do you like the 18-game schedule with players sitting out a mandatory two games during the season?
DD: Yes. But I think we're a long way off from seeing it actually happen. But I love football, and this would mean more football. It would also mean the roster size would likely expand from 53, so it would mean more jobs for more players. With a longer season, the Super Bowl would likely happen closer to Valentine's Day/later February. That's the worst month of the year for sports, so yeah, I'll take the extra football.

Derwin Jordan: Dear Drew, With an improved offensive line, do you think we have a fighter's chance for a Top-5 offense?
DD: Of course, Derwin. More importantly, an improved offensive line would mean more wins. I think the health and addition of more offensive weapons, along with the growth of Deshaun Watson will play a role in seeing improved pass protection in 2019.

@kjntxn: Dear Drew, Will FB Cullen Gillaspia be used as a true fullback or will he be used mainly on special teams?
DD: You'll probably see Gillaspia make a more immediate impact on special teams, but yes, he will likely be in a bit at fullback down the line.

@purplpandagurl: Dear Drew, How do you think the Texans Defense will do this year?
DD: Good. Up front, J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney and D.J. Reader are all healthy and primed for big seasons. Watt has spoken multiple times about how this offseason has been a good one for him, because it's the first time since before the 2015 season that he wasn't rehabbing some sort of injury. The inside linebackers in Benardrick McKinney, Zach Cunningham and Dylan Cole are talented and young, and the safety group at the back end has three players in Justin Reid, Tashaun Gipson and Jahleel Addae who all were starters last year. The cornerbacks group has seen a bit of turnover but is primed for improvement. And Romeo Crennel is still in charge of it all as the defensive coordinator.

Alejandro Mazal: Dear Drew, Is this going to be D'Onta Foreman's breakout season?
DD: Based on what we saw and heard during May and June, it's sure looking that way. He played in Week 16, and in the playoff loss to the Colts, catching a touchdown pass and not doing too much on the ground. Since then, he's gotten into what he said is the best shape of his life, which includes his high school days down the road in Texas City. Along with Pro Bowler Lamar Miller, it could be a rosy year at running back for the Texans.

Donna Byers: Dear Drew, Which defensive position will be the most competitive in camp this year?
DD: With all the turnover in the secondary, I'll go with the cornerback position. Each group is always going to be competitive, but if I had to choose, I'd go with corner.

@UHBigRedHatGuy: Dear Drew, How do you envision the battle for left tackle going? Who do you think is the starter game one? Thanks!!
DD: Thanks a lot for the question. We saw a lot of line combinations last season, as well as in OTAs. I think Julién Davenport has improved and will likely be the guy early on this season. He's entering year three in the League and has shown quite a bit of promise, along with an impressive skillset. Like the rest of the unit, though, he had his share of struggles last season. Ironing out some of those kinks will go a long way toward the Texans improving in pass protection. Tytus Howard was drafted in the first round for a reason, though, and big things are expected of him eventually. It's a good, and vitally important, competition.

Ha-dassah Sully Royal Dear Drew, What will we do different to avoid another slow start to the season?
DD: The Texans are back home in Houston for training camp this summer, and I think you'll see them spend more time practicing inside the Houston Methodist Training Center than in previous training camps. Beating the heat should help Houston with conditioning. Also, having receivers Will Fuller, V and Keke Coutee along with Miller and Foreman in the backfield will go a long way towards stressing opposing defenses and opening things up for the Houston offense.

Samantha Hallas: Dear Drew, I missed ya at Deepi and John's Cooler Talk last week! Hope you had a relaxing and fun vacation! Anyway, I want to know how I can get my game tickets for this season! Are they on sale yet?
DD: Thanks Samantha! The individual game tickets will go on sale soon, so stay tuned.

Juan Carlos Alegria: Dear Drew, With no GM, are trades less likely?
DD: No. Interim general manager Chris Olsen, along with folks in the personnel departments are continuing along like they always have, and they'll make moves as they see fit.

@Ocamp88: Dear Drew, Will there be any new restaurants/amenities at NRG Stadium this year?
DD: Yes. And I wish I could tell you about them, but that's staying a secret until August 15. But I can tell you this: there will be at least three Houston restaurants that will have a presence on gameday, and we're adding a couple of new items at most concession stands that will be eye-opening. Cheese will be heavily involved.

@The_1_Hendo: Dear Drew, How are all the former Texan players settling in to their roles now as Texans coaches?
DD: Wide receiver Andre Johnson, linebackers Brian Cushing and Akeem Dent, and quarterback T.J. Yates all joined the staff this offseason. By all accounts, they're doing well. Johnson and Yates both talked about the fun they're having and the things they've been able to share with the younger players.

@Anothernguyen23: Dear Drew are the @HoustonTexans doing their stampede tour this year?
DD: Yes. The Texans sent a group down to the Rio Grande valley in the spring.

The Houston Texans Rookies took a splash at the Houston Texans YMCA with a bunch of young, excited fans!

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