Under Frank Ross, the Houston Texans special teams unit excelled last season. Ross, one of the few holdovers from the 2022 (and even 2021) coaching staff, returns as the Texans special teams coordinator for his third season in the role.
"The special teams did an awesome job in previous years here, so to keep him in place and keep some continuity there with our special teams," Head Coach DeMeco Ryans said. "He's teaching the same style that I want to play on offense and defense. It's an aggressive, attacking style and I'm fired up to have Frank as well."
Despite a 3-13-1 record on the field, the Texans finished first in average return yards allowed on kickoffs (19.0) and opponents average starting field position (22.2 yard-line) in 2022. Both P Cameron Johnston and K Ka'imi Fairbairn were named 2023 Pro Bowl alternates while veteran Jon Weeks was re-signed for his 14th season with the team. Tremon Smith had two kickoff returns for 30-plus yards, while Desmond King II returned a kick for 50 yards to the one-yard line against Cleveland on Dec. 4. The duo also combined for 17 punt returns for 10-plus yards.
However, Ross is aiming even higher this season. He rattles off a list of plays that didn't happen last year, from lack of return touchdowns to blocked punts or field goals. Ross, optimistic with his core group, is ready to get to work under Ryans on unfinished business.
"The first thing on my to do list is what can we do that we haven't been able to get done yet," Ross said. "There are some great building and foundation laid in guys that are returning and schemes that have been put in. That's awesome reward for those guys. They put the work in. So proud of the guys, M.J. Stewart, the three specialists, Jon Weeks, Cam (Johnston), Ka'imi (Fairbairn), but Neville (Hewitt), JRM (Jalen Reeves-Maybin), Tremon (Smith), anybody, Des (Desmond) King tackling on kickoff. Doesn't matter what role you've played, those guys earned that status. It's 2023 now. That page has turned, and we have to find a way to get better and sweep our corners of weaknesses.