Lovie Smith believes Texans defense is getting ‘stronger’

Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports /

There is a lot of optimism for the ’22 Houston Texans defense this offseason

We’ve spoken about this a lot this offseason, but for the Houston Texans to be better than a four-win team they must be better not just on offense, but the defense needs to take steps into being a dominant unit, starting in 2022.

Last season the Texans were close to the bottom in the NFL in points allowed with 452 points scored by opponents in ’21, and they were next to last in the league in rushing yards allowed at 2,418, with only the Steelers allowing more (2,483). The Texans were also next to last in the NFL in ’21 in total yards allowed with 6,535 yards, as the Jets were last in the league with 6,760.

Granted, there is a lot of work ahead for the Texans in ’22, and head coach (and defensive coordinator) Lovie Smith wants to see the defense improve under his watch this season, as his first season wasn’t so great when his lone role was being the DC.

With Smith having his Tampa 2 defense in Houston for a second year the head coach is optimistic about his new-look defense as he stated in a recent press conference earlier this week during OTA’s — with comments provided by HoustonTexans.com — as he was asked about the “camaraderie amongst the defense” by the Houston media:

"“Most definitely. Each and every day is getting stronger and stronger.”"

Smith also talked about rookie cornerback and No. 3 overall pick Derek Stingley Jr. when asked about him:

"“Great guy. Very talented, hence why he got drafted where he got drafted. You know, I think he’s going to do some great things here whenever he gets rolling.”"

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Texans: Numbers that need to improve this upcoming season

When looking back at the ’21 Texans defense, one stat that must be better for their 17-game season is the yards per game allowed when it comes to running the football. The Texans allowed 142.2 yards per game rushing last season, and in comparison to the Jacksonville Jaguars and the  Detroit Lions (the two teams with worse records than the Texans in ’21) they allowed 135.1 ypg allowed (Lions) and 125.1 ypg allowed (Jaguars).

Looking at passing yards allowed per game in ’21, Houston allowed 242.2 ypg, and with the Jaguars they allowed 227.9 ypg, and the Lions were right with Houston, allowing 244.7 passing ypg.

So, the Texans were 23rd overall in passing yards allowed per game in ’21, and 31st overall in rushing yards per game allowed, meaning they weren’t very good at stopping either one last season.

The good news is Houston has worked to make the defense better, as the draft added not only Stingley at cornerback in the first round, but they also added safety Jalen Pitre with one of their two second-round picks.

Also added to the defense through the ’22 NFL Draft were Christian Harris at linebacker and Thomas Booker at defensive tackle. Some other free agent transactions by Houston this offseason include adding cornerback Fabian Moreau, cornerback Steven Nelson, defensive end Jerry Hughes and defensive lineman Mario Addison all through free agency.

There were some other signings and moves made by Houston this offseason, and if Smith believes things are improving for the Texans through OTAs and this offseason, then fans of the Texans should embrace the positivity going into the ’22 season.

Things will eventually get better for the Texans, and once the defense improves on some of the above numbers from last season, then the results will eventually follow.

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What are your thoughts on the Houston Texans defensive changes made by the franchise so far this offseason?