Yes! It’s the infamous “deadzone”: the one month period between minicamp and training camp that seems to last for 6 months! Well, one offseason move that has seemingly flown under the radar is the Texans decision to replace the previous grass surface with field turf for the 2015 season.
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Since the inauguration of NRG Stadium, the quality of the playing surface has been a source of controversy and debate. Former Patriots Wide Receiver Wes Welker, Eagles Linebacker DeMeco Ryans, and Texans 2014 number 1 overall draft pick Linebacker Jadeveon Clowney all suffered season-ending non-contact injuries on that surface, and former Texans punter Brett Hartmann, who played for the Texans in 2011, has filed suit against SMG, the company that technically runs NRG stadium, claiming the ‘unsafe turf’ contributed to a career-ending injury.
NRG stadium has been converting to field turf for years for NCAA and high school football, and as I stood on the field after the 2014 Advocare kickoff game, I couldn’t help but think why the Texans hadn’t considered playing on the field turf surface instead of the grass field.
Patriots Coach Bill Belichick stated that “The turf down there is terrible,” in an interview with Boston’s WEEI-FM the day after Wes Welker tore his ACL at then Reliant Stadium. “It’s terrible. It’s just inconsistent. It’s all the little trays of grass and some of them are soft and some of them are firm and they don’t all fit well together, those seams… Some of it feels like a sponge, some of it feels real firm and hard like the Miami surface. One step you’re on one, the other step you’re on another. I really think it’s one of the worst fields I’ve seen.”
It’s great news that the NRG and Texans officials have addressed this concern in the interest of player safety. Now all that the opposing teams will have to worry about is facing the Texans front 7….