With Expensive Stability Attained, Texans Offensive Line Needs Excellence
Tytus Howard's contract extension means this offensive line must shine
Texans general manager Nick Caserio doesn’t strike me as a poker player, but he has plenty of elements of a good poker player. Caserio is bright and understands how to use data and statistics to make educated guesses. He frequently plays things close to his vest. He now finds himself in a dangerous place that even the most hardened and veteran poker players fear.
Nick Caserio is pot committed on this offensive line.
Being pot committed is when a poker player has invested enough chips where it would now be incorrect to fold against further action.
The latest big push of chips into the middle of the table was the extension for Tytus Howard. The veteran tackle didn’t reset the market, but his three-year, $56 million extension was pricey. It followed two other commitments along the offensive line as Laremy Tunsil signed a three-year, $75 million contract. Shaq Mason earned an extension before even playing for the Texans with a three-year, $36 million contract.
These well-compensated veterans combined with former first-rounder Kenyon Green and hopefully rookie center Juice Scruggs make up the offensive line of the Houston Texans. In theory, everyone is under contract through at least the 2026 season.
“Now we’re stable, and it's time to ride,” said Shaq Mason after Wednesday’s workout. “Builds confidence. Builds continuity. Us being together for the next however many years – it’s going to build continuity and [we] know what each other is going to do at each moment.”
Excellence should be the standard going forward.
There are no more excuses for the offensive line. There’s seemingly been one every year since 2012, which was the last time the Texans had a line you could feel good about. Long gone are the days when Duane Brown, Wade Smith, Chris Myers, and Eric Winston patrolled NRG Stadium dominating defensive lines.
Laremy Tunsil is elite and playing his best football. Shaq Mason and Tytus Howard are battle-tested veterans. The younger players are high draft picks. New offensive line coach Chris Strausser has a track record of incredible success coming over from the Indianapolis Colts.
Why shouldn’t dominance be expected? The investment should return a top-eight offensive line in the league. While I would love to keep the standard high, this group has played zero game snaps together. Maybe it isn’t this season, but there needs to be high standards going forward and anything close to last year isn’t acceptable.
Failure on the offensive line would create a multitude of problems. It would call into question Nick Caserio’s ability to evaluate linemen, both veterans and rookies. It would lead to a reallocation of resources, like draft picks or cap space, to fix an already expensive spot on the team. Most importantly, it would spell doom for an offense that has to find out if the quarterback can grow into a franchise quarterback.
Sure, the rookie deals of Green and Scruggs allow some flexibility if the line doesn’t work out, but Caserio hasn’t been planning for failure. He’s hoping he’s built an impenetrable wall of bodies that will keep C.J. Stroud upright to make all the plays you’d desire from the second pick in the NFL Draft. Caserio desires five maulers to pave the way for Dameon Pierce to run free to the endzone.
While I don’t expect to see him in the World Series of Poker, if Nick Caserio has played it right he will have the best hand, and offensive line, at the table.
Here is a YouTube video with a heavy focus on the first day of training camp.
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