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Coach’s Commentary: Offensive Line

Posted by Nick Scurfield on July 24, 2012 – 9:42 am

On Monday, our position-by-position preview of the 2012 Texans continued with a look at the offensive line. Here’s what Texans offensive line coach John Benton, who has been with the Texans since 2006, has to say about the Texans’ projected starters at each position:

On LT Duane Brown: “I thought Duane had his best year last year since coming to us. Really is coming into his own as one of the top tackles in the league. He’s become a very consistent pass protector that really brings a top-level athlete to the position. He’s able to do some things, particularly in space and the run game, that not many people can do, and we plan on taking more and more advantage of that as it goes on. But he has progressed and become a technician at his position as well as having that mean streak we look for. I don’t care if it’s run, pass, whatever, it makes no difference to Duane. He is looking for an advantage, and if he smells blood, he’ll go after it. He’s got a demeanor to him and is really starting to play with the attitude we’d want our whole group to play with. I think he’s on his way to becoming a dominant player.”

On LG Wade Smith: “Wade has been a consistent performer for us. Kind of our veteran leader of the group. Keeps us all grounded. Very, very intelligent player. Makes a lot of key adjustments for us, which is fairly unusual for a guard. He’s another player that plays with the type of attitude we want. He’s really out there to not just get his job done but to add something extra to the mix, and it’s paid off over time. He’s just very sound, one of the highest graders we’ve had time and time again, and brings an element of both experience and attitude to our group. Wade’s a coach’s dream. He is a true professional. He is the most prepared player for every game. He rarely, rarely ever has a mental error. He shows up and he’s a hard, hard worker. He is all ball all the time, and that pays off.”

On C Chris Myers: “Very excited to have Chris as a Pro Bowl center. The center’s always going to be the captain of our group. He initiates every blocking scheme we have and oftentimes is communicating with the quarterback and that type of thing, both in protections and runs. And no one does that better than Chris. He’s played very well in the last few years and continues to progress, and we’re expecting him to keep progressing, even through his accolades. He’s really the type of center we need for this scheme. He has an extremely quick first step. He can get to the second level effectively. He’s done that for a couple years, but he really improved in protection in the one-on-one type schemes this past year and really became a well-rounded player, and we’re looking for big things again from Chris.”

On RG Antoine Caldwell: “Antoine has been here for several years and has played, and we’re very glad that he’s played and played fairly well. He’s progressed every year, and now it’s time for Antoine to step into the fold and be the guy. Brandon Brooks will obviously be competing with him, but I think he’s learned over time what it takes to be successful within our group and has the talent to do it. He’s a physical presence, maybe a more physical presence than we have with some of the other guys just in terms of strength and we call it short-area force, that type of thing. He’s one of those guys, he can create movement at the point of contact. He can keep a three-technique on the line of scrimmage. So what we’re looking for from him is that consistently good play through there. He’s capable, and we’re expecting him to be able to do so.”

On RT Rashad Butler: “Rashad has been, in our opinion, a starter-level tackle for a long time, just playing behind both Duane (Brown) and Eric Winston swinging to both sides, and now he’s going to have the opportunity to take that right tackle spot and run with it. He’ll have some serious competition with Derek Newton, but we expect the best man to win, as always. Rashad, with his experience, probably has the upper hand. Rashad’s got extremely good length. He’s athletic. He’s been becoming a more physical player. His strength has always been his protection technique and his length, which allows him to really handle edge rushers fairly well. He has improved in the run game. He just needs to keep progressing and we’ll be in good shape there. He’s definitely got the athleticism to handle the backside blocks and some of the more difficult athletic blocks we have, so he brings that to the table.”

The position-by-position season preview articles and Coach’s Commentary quotes for each projected starter will be featured in the 2012 Houston Texans Yearbook, which goes on sale at the Go Texan Store at Reliant Stadium and online on Saturday, July 28.

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