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Tyrann Mathieu's mouth important part of his game

Tyrann Mathieu's mouth is important.

The defensive back joined the Texans in free agency and was instantly inserted into the mix at safety. With Andre Hal's recent lymphoma diagnosis, the secondary's depth chart took a hit, as he was the most-experienced Texan in terms of starts in this defense.

Hal's exit means Mathieu, Justin Reid, Kareem Jackson, Corey Moore and some others will need to step their communication. Through organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp, Mathieu did a good job of that.

"He's a very smart player," head coach Bill O'Brien said. "He's played a number of snaps in this league. I think he's on a really good level with those guys as far as communication."

Mathieu spent his first NFL seasons with the Cardinals, and has adjusted to a new defense here in Houston. Helping get his teammates in the right spot prior to the snap has been key.

"It's important," Mathieu said. "Especially for me to mesh well with the veterans – not only the vets but with the young guys as well."

Veteran cornerback Johnathan Joseph has been impressed with Mathieu, and knows the communication levels will improve as well.

"The more time we're out there together, the more time we spend together, we'll get comfortable," Joseph said. "We'll be able to communicate and do things on the fly."

Joseph's entering year eight with the Texans, and year 13 in the NFL. He's been a valuable resource for Mathieu.

"I'm always trying to pick J-Joe's brain," Mathieu said. "Obviously a guy that's been in the league for over a decade, obviously knows a lot. I'm constantly trying to get better, pick his brain."

An All-Pro in 2015, Mathieu's not come in and coasted. According to defensive backs coach Anthony Midget, he's been a diligent student of the game.

"That's good for me with a guy that's been in the League this long of a time still willing to learn and work on his craft," Midget said. "So, that's been a positive going forward and he has put in the time just to get better, and he's gotten so much better since we started this offseason."

Mathieu and the Texans will begin training camp at The Greenbrier in West Virginia in late July.

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