Texans head coach Lovie Smith likes depth at tackle

Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports /

The Houston Texans should be solid at tackle on the o-line in ’22

If there is one thing about the Houston Texans this offseason it is the fact at offensive tackle, they are impressive, not just with the two mainstays at the position, but the depth they have as well.

The two mainstays are left tackle Laremy Tunsil and right tackle Tytus Howard, and barring some unforeseen circumstances those two will be the bookends of the offensive line in ’22.

But what about the depth at the position? Like with every team, an offensive line – or any other position – is only as strong as their depth. Texans head coach Lovie Smith likes the depth of the Houston o-line, as he spoke about not only the depth at the position, but one player in particular – Charlie Heck.

Smith had this to say about the young offensive tackle earlier this week during a press conference:

"“Progress. Charlie, you know, we’re going to have two starting offensive tackles, but you need a lot more. We like our tackle position. There’s depth there. Eventually, you know, (Laremy) Tunsil will be in and Tytus Howard has done an excellent job. But you need more than them, we want to be two-deep the every position on our football team. That’s what we are trying to get accomplished and I think we are headed down that direction.”"

Heck is very important to the depth and success of the Texans’ offensive line. Heck has been a member of Houston since being drafted in the fourth round of the ’20 NFL Draft out of the University of North Carolina.

The tackle has not had much consistency since joining the Texans at head coach with Bill O’Brien being fired four games into Heck’s career, followed with Romeo Crennel being the interim head coach, then David Culley last season, but he was fired as well. Now with Smith as the head coach (he was the defensive coordinator), and Pep Hamilton being the new offensive coordinator, maybe things can become more consistent for the tackle and the rest of the franchise.

Since joining the Texans, Heck made 14 starts, including 13 this past season due to injuries on the Houston offensive line. As a rookie he played in 59 percent of the offensive snaps (105 plays), and last season Heck played in 88 percent of the offensive snaps, meaning he was on the field for 827 plays.

Who are the rest of the Texans’ tackles on the o-line?

Others on the depth chart at tackle this offseason are Cederic Ogbuehi, and rookies Austin Deculus and Myron Cunningham.

The addition of Deculus is very exciting for this team as he was drafted in the sixth round in ’22. Also on the o-line at guard is Max Scharping, who also has experience playing tackle, so that gives the Texans an edge at the position too.

Looking back at some of the past players and past offensive lines, the ’22 version of tackles gives hope to the offense, as hopefully the rushing game improves, and the protection of quarterback Davis Mills is better in ’22 as well, and it should be if Howard and Tunsil stay healthy.

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As for Heck as the top reserve at the position, his health is of great importance because at some point this upcoming season he will be needed at tackle, and hopefully his progress is at a high level when the regular season begins.