Texans' offensive line position battle 'more widespread' than at right guard, tackle


(SportsRadio 610) -- For the past two seasons, Tytus Howard has usually been the Texans' starting right guard when healthy.

Howard made his NFL debut at left guard in Week 2 of the 2020 season, but moved to right tackle for the remaining seven games he played before a season-ending knee injury.

Howard then started 14 games at right tackle for the Texans last season.

But this offseason, new general manager Nick Caserio traded for longtime Patriots right guard Marcus Cannon, who is likely to assume the same position in Houston.

Cannon, who opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19, is a three-time Super Bowl champion with the Patriots and was named second team All-Pro in 2016.

There is a need for the Texans at right guard. Both Howard and Cannon have played guard, but Cannon is admittedly more comfortable at tackle.

Howard, for what's worth, has said he would play anywhere on the line to help the team.

When Texans offensive line coach James Campen was asked this week about the competition, he said to look beyond just those two names.

The Texans claimed tackle Geron Christian off waivers from Washington. They also still have Charlie Heck going into his second season, and Roderick Johnson re-signed with the team.

At guard, undrafted rookie from Texas A&M Carson Green is competing with third-year player Max Scharping, journeyman Justin McCray, and longtime Packers lineman Lane Taylor.

Former Seahawks center Justin Britt figures to start at that position. The Texans also have journeyman Cole Toner and another undrafted rookie Aggie, Ryan McCollum.

“I think the competition is really more widespread than just two players, and I do believe that," Campen said. "We have eight tackles on our roster right now, and I think seven or eight guys that can play. We have some flexibility with our linemen, which I think that is a lineman that can play more than one position and can be trained as such.

"Obviously, Marcus has been playing right tackle for a long time in this league, so I don’t anticipate him moving very much, but other people can move around. I think that the competition isn’t just with two players. I don’t believe that. I think that at the end of the day, there’s a job requirement for five linemen to play the positions that they’re going to play. That job requirement could easily, as you well know – your right guard could be your starting center for a couple of series until his shoelaces is fixed.

"So, you don’t know, but you have to assume those responsibilities and there’s a criteria for each one of those positions. I think that the competition is what’s going to be really exciting. It’s going to help these players to get the best out of them, to motivate them, and it’s going to be a heck of a camp until this thing kicks off. I’m excited to see how it shakes out. I really am.”

The offensive looks to help improve what was the least efficient run game in the NFL last season. the passing stats were mostly good, since Deshaun Watson was the league's passing leader and often created plays. Watson appears to have at least one foot out of the door.

As Britt said a few weeks ago, last season doesn't matter to the players on the team now.

Having a strong running game is a priority for the offense.