I feel like I was one of the first free agents to sign and then, I saw they signed Tyrod (Taylor) and I texted him and just kind of forced my hand on him and said, ‘We’re going to be friends'." C Justin Britt on the Quaterback-Center relationship
The Houston Texans will open their 2021 regular season, against the Jacksonville Jaguars, on Sunday. They will be officially kicking off the David Culley-Nick Caserio era in team history. Here are some of the top stories and quotes from the week.
The Texans will face the No. 1 overall draft pick in QB Trevor Lawrence on Sunday.
"I think he is a special kid," Justin Reid said. "I think he has tremendous arm talent. I think he has some ability. I think he is still a rookie. Rookies are going to do rookie things as far as wanting to see receivers open and things like that, but he is the number one overall draft pick and we are going to give him the credit and respect he deserves because of that. Talented kid. Like I said, it's his first game under the lights when the games count, so we will see how he does."
The Texans defense is coming off a preseason performance with 10-total takeaways and allowed an average of 65.3 rushing yards per game. Defensive Coordinator Lovie Smith hopes to build on it as his defense's identity.
"For us though, it doesn't really matter if it's Trevor Lawrence or whoever the quarterback might be. It's always about what we do and there's a way that we like to play defense," Smith said. "And part of being able to play good defense is to be able to control the quarterback as much as possible."
Tyrod Taylor will be the starting quarterback. Head Coach David Culley feels he has become a lot more vocal as a leader.
"I haven't been with him the past three years and seeing him go into his 11th year, I am seeing him a little more vocal than he has been," Culley said. "He has gone through some things the past two years and I think those experiences have helped him get to this point, where he is able to lead this football team as he did three years ago when I was with him in Buffalo."
Taylor gets a new target in Danny Amendola, who signed with the team this week. The Woodlands native will wear No. 89. Culley has familiarity with the 13-year veteran wide receiver, back when he was a practice squad player, for the Eagles.
"You know Danny has been a quality player in this league for a long time," Culley said. "I happened to have Danny back in Philadelphia a while back, I know what he's all about. He fits the mold. We've had Anthony Miller, who's been our slot guy, who's been hurt, and we wanted to make sure we had some depth and another guy to be able to play that position if Anthony's not able to play and Danny fits that mold."
The Texans traded CB Bradley Roby to the Saints this week. Roby was not expected to play in Week 1 since he was serving the final game of his six-game suspension from last year.
"Bradley (Roby) was a good football player for us," Lovie Smith said. "He wasn't playing this week, so our preparation has been without him. So how we're going to approach it is that we have two starting corners in Terrance Mitchell and Vernon Hargreaves that are going to tee it up and we'll go from there."
Now that the roster is down to 53, several players changed their jersey numbers since more became available.
Number changes: Anthony Miller is now No. 3. DeMarcus Walker is No. 55. Terrence Brooks is No. 8.
Miller was a full participant in practice this week after suffering a shoulder injury in the first preseason game.
K Joey Slye will fill in for Ka'imi Fairbairn, who is still dealing with a leg injury from preseason.
"Joey comes from Carolina, couple years in the league, a lot of good experience, so at this point, consider him a veteran," Special Teams Coordinator Frank Ross said. "I'm happy that when he gets here under the circumstance just gets to a new team, a new city and he gets the chance to prove himself as he works through with a new snapper. He has a strong leg and excited to work with Joey. He has been great as far as his professionalism and trying to get to speed as quickly as possible."
OL Charlie Heck was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday and will miss Sunday's game. OL Marcus Cannon returned to practice after being on the PUP list throughout camp.
"He's done a really good job," Offensive Coordinator Tim Kelly said. "Obviously, for having a little bit of rust on him, he came out and he's knocking some of that off, but he's doing really well. Still working on the conditioning and, as far as the schematics and everything along those lines, he did a great job staying involved and staying locked in, when he wasn't out there on the grass. So there hasn't been much of an issue with that and I'm looking forward to see him on Sunday go out there and play well."
Justin Britt, who gets up around 5 a.m. each day, said there is an ongoing competition between him, Taylor and Cannon on who arrives to the stadium first in the mornings.
"It's hard to beat Justin sometimes," Cannon said. "Tyrod, I got him a few times, but man, those guys wake up early. If you want to beat those guys, you've got to come in around 5:15. But I got them a couple of times."
Britt says he likes how the team was able to run the ball in the preseason.
"I'm very encouraged," Britt said. "It's really fun to block for running backs like Mark Ingram II, Phillip Lindsay, David Johnson. I'm excited to block for Scottie (Phillips) whenever he gets in. He's ran the ball really hard this preseason. But group one, two and three on the O-line, they went out there and did their thing. It was cool to see it doesn't matter who's in there, but the system, it's going to be aggressive."
Check out Mark Ingram on this week's Deep Slant podcast discussing the Texans running back room, his expectations of his role plus his dos and don'ts of podcasting right here.
Check out some of the things that are new at NRG Stadium for the 2021 season!