Every year, for every team one of the lesser known players breaks out and introduces themselves to the world as a legitimate NFL player. When a team like the Houston Texans undergoes a major overhaul like they have since bringing in head coach Bill O’Brien, the chances of such a breakout are even more likely.
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In Houston there have been several veteran players depart since O’Brien came in. Gone are players like receiver Andre Johnson, tight end Owen Daniels and quarterback Matt Schaub. They also opted not to resign linebacker Brooks Reed, safety Danieal Manning and cut center Chris Myers.
The massive exodus is not uncommon for a team who has a new head coach. Fans have watched Bill re-tool his tea, and recently, Tania Ganguli discussed the way the coach is building the roster around his specific requirements.
"O’Brien and his staff define each position, down to size measurements, speed requirements, and other tangible attributes with rigid specificity, then share those definitions with general manager Rick Smith and his staff."
O’Brien also said that size and length were crucial to defensive players, and while exceptions are made for great football players, you have to limit those exceptions. While size is important on offense as well, especially in their linemen, O’Brien stated that intelligence was the primary factor for that side of the ball.
"“If a [defensive back] has really good coverage skills, but only has 28-inch arms, they really have to have really good change of direction,” O’Brien said. “If he has 31-inch arms, he has a real good chance to break up a pass in tight coverage. An outside linebacker, if he has longer arms he has a really good chance to get his hands on the tight end and set the edge faster than the tight end can get his arms on him.”"
So understanding a little more how the team looks at their players, let’s examine a few names that may wind up stealing a bigger role, or maybe even a starting spot from a veteran player.
Next: Second Year Defensive Lineman