Returning All 5 Offensive Linemen Vital For Texans In 2020

Brandon Scott
May 22, 2020 - 7:00 am

(SportsRadio 610) -- The Texans' offensive line has come a long way over the past year. 

Their projected starting lineup for 2019 led to Pro Football Focus ranking the Texans' o-line 31st in the league entering the season. 

That's early July, when PFF still projected Julie'n Davenport to be the left tackle and Senio Kelemente the left guard. 

In mentioning the moves the Texans had made to address the issue (drafting Tytus Howard and Max Scharping in the first two rounds and signing veteran Matt Kalil), PFF noted "until those players live up to expectations, the Texans remain the bottom of the barrel."

Fast forward past the trade for Laremy Tunsil, Kalil's release, and the promising play of Howard and Scharping as rookies, the Texans have stability along the offensive line.

The unit improved in 2019 and still has room for growth. Their ranking jumped from 27th in 2018 to 21st in 2019 and their adjusted sack rate improved from 11.6 percent to 7.3 percent, according to Pro Football Outsiders.

For the first time since Bill O'Brien became Texans' head coach in 2014, they're returning all five starters. 

Sure, it costed a lot -- making Tunsil the highest paid tackle in football; extending center Nick Martin for three years, $33 million; and investing premium draft picks in Howard and Scharping.

But there is some relief in having a reliable front for Watson. 

"That position especially, there's a lot of chemistry that goes into that position of playing next to one another, how certain people are going to handle certain blocks and how it's going to feel and the different responses and reactions that you'll get," Texans offensive coordinator Tim Kelly said. "I'm sure Coach Dev (Mike Devlin) will be able to get into that in depth with you, but having all five of those guys back is vital. It's a good thing and it's something that we're definitely excited for."

Former Texans Pro Bowl offensive lineman Wade Smith joined Clint Stoerner on Thursday and further explained the importance of continuity on the offensive line. 

Listen to the interview here