Now that the Texans have their coach, it's time to sink our teeth into the rest of the offseason and the intriguing happenings on the horizon.
Lovie Smith's introduction day got everyone lathered up for a big 2022. Here are a few things to keep in mind as we march forward:
The Combine is coming up and the Texans are loaded with nine picks as they poke and prod at the new crop of players. Houston has a first-round choice for the first time in three years and both a first and second-round pick for only the second time in the last five years. That means Nick Caserio, after successful early returns on his first draft, has even more chances to hit on productive players (NFL Scouting Combine on March 1-7).
Free Agency (and Trades)
After bringing in enough players to invade a small country in 2021, Caserio might not procure the same volume haul of free agents this season but it'll still be a big number. And based on the contributions of some of the lot last year, expect some difference makers in this upcoming group (NFL Free Agency and Trading begins on March 16 at 3 p.m. CT).
We mentioned the picks. There could be more with trades. And on draft weekend, based on last year's wheeling and dealing, expect more movement up and down the board than NFT prices (NFL Draft on April 28-30).
With a new head coach taking over, the Texans can begin their offseason workouts earlier. OTAs are always interesting but this year we go in with an early eye on what Offensive Coordinator Pep Hamilton's offensive construction looks like with second-year QB Davis Mills (Offseason conditioning starts on April 4).
Training Camp and Preseason Games
This year, the Texans get two preseason home games. Will they practice with another team? What will Camp Lovie be like? In any case, we'll see an established head coach who's been part of the organization, leading returning players and new blood into the '22 campaign. All the key leaders of the franchise program have already worked together – a huge plus.
Being in the AFC, the Texans now have nine road games. But get this – six of them are against teams that have a new head coach; Las Vegas, Chicago, Denver, Miami, New York Giants and Jacksonville. That hardly means these are lay-ups. Vegas and Miami had winning records. And the Raiders and Jags have head coaches getting their second shot, but it's worth noting.
One big step has been taken with the hiring of the Lovie Smith. Now it's on to the rest of the offseason agenda. Keep it here for all the activity.