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Vandermeer's View: Spring Forward

This is the time of year I remind you that the defense should be way ahead of the offense. And it is. After all, the Houston D was first in yards last season and is likely to finish high again while maybe playing better overall with improvement in the points and takeaway departments.

I remember the days when the Texans offense would torch the defense in the Spring. From 2007-2009 Matt Schaub and his merry band of pass catchers put up offensive numbers that would average third in the NFL over that time period.


While the defenses in those days averaged were a little bit lower on the totem pole, checking in at 22nd during that era.

Since 2011, the defense has finished lower than seventh only once. During that time, the Texans had put up five winning seasons and four division titles. Defense wins. We all know that. But we also know there must be dramatic improvement on offense and it appears to be happening.

Tom Savage is getting first team reps for the first time in the spring. That's the good news. The bad news is that he looks across the line of scrimmage and sees J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney staring at him. If he wants to target a wide receiver, chances are Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson are in coverage. Good luck.

But this is how he'll get better. He will not 'enjoy' facing a scout team defense until deep in the preseason. Even in the first two preseason games he'll be battling Luke Kuechly and friends then that pretty good team from the Boston area. No days off – isn't that what they say?

There are enough assets to help. Lamar Miller enters year two in this system. The tight ends are coming off an excellent year and have proven themselves as a productive position group. Plus, Will Fuller looks like he's shaken off a lot of rookie growing pains. And of course, it will be fun to see what kind of chemistry Savage can build with DeAndre Hopkins.

There's plenty of work to do on the offensive line but plenty of time to get it done as they won't be in pads for over two months. The return of Nick Martin and the mere sight of David Quessenberry on a practice field is certainly welcoming.

Everyone asks about Deshaun Watson. Bill O'Brien likes him splitting the 2nd team reps with veteran Brandon Weeden. Watson has a larger than life presence on a football field. That is clear. He has all the intangibles and plenty of the tangibles. He made some nice plays in the open practice but this is just the beginning of a process. You know he'll put the work in. It'll be interesting to mark his progress at minicamp then throughout training camp.

It's step one for the 2017 version of this squad. There will be some strides made during the next few weeks. But the real leap has to happen at the Greenbrier. And we will bring it all to you right here.

Check out some of the best shots from the first week of Texans OTAs.

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