Laremy Tunsil is a big reason to be optimistic about 2023 Houston Texans

The Houston Texans gave their fans 13.5 reasons to feel terrible about their team in 2022.

After coming off a 4-13 campaign led by a rookie coach in David Culley, the expectations were Houston could fare better with Lovie Smith at the helm. Instead the Texans regressed with a 3-13-1 record, a half-game worse than they were under a man who had never been so much as a coordinator in his previous 27 seasons in the NFL.

The Texans are on their third coaching search in as many seasons with general manager Nick Caserio. The trepidation for Texans fans is they are still amid a rebuild — a la the Jacksonville Jaguars, who never sniffed the playoffs from 2018-21, and almost missed out this season with a 3-7 start.

According to Jonathan Macri from Pro Football Focus, there is a big reason to be optimistic about the Texans’ fortunes in 2023, and it doesn’t have much to do with Houston’s draft capital. Rather it is the play from three-time Pro Bowl left tackle Laremy Tunsil.

Tunsil earned the highest pass-blocking grade on the season (91.7), allowing just one sack and three QB hits on 676 pass-blocking snaps. This has been the 28-year-old’s best career season, and he remains under contract through 2023.

The Texans and Tunsil will likely work on an extension in the offseason, and the former Miami Dolphins 2016 first-round pick would relish in being the highest-paid tackle along with the qualitatively and quantitatively best.

Having a blindside protector in his prime would also be a great way for Houston’s rookie quarterback — whether Alabama’s Bryce Young or Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud — to acclimate to the NFL. The young signal caller would have a better chance making good decisions in a settled throwing environment rather than dealing with a constant rush off the left side.

Tunsil started all 17 games for Houston in 2022, the first year of his career he completed a full complement of games in a season.

Story originally appeared on Texans Wire