Howard was a part of the group for only eight games last year as a rookie before an MCL injury landed him on injured reserve on Nov. 30. Nonetheless, having a productive starting five return inspires confidence around NRG Stadium.
“I’m just looking forward to seeing what we can do once we keep on building up these games together,” Howard said. “I think we’re going to build something pretty special.”
The offensive line hasn’t had a chance to work together until training camp commenced. COVID-19 eliminated the entire offseason program before it could even begin, which meant there was none of the communal bonding that goes into forging offensive line cohesion.
“It feels pretty good for all of us to be back,” said Howard. “We have a pretty close group. With all of us being back in the building it felt good, especially having five starters back, something that I don’t think has happened in here in a long time or ever. With us, just keep building that chemistry is going to be the key for us.”
Last year, quarterback Deshaun Watson saw his league-leading 62 sacks from 2018 shrink to 44. Running back Carlos Hyde, who joined the team after final cuts at the end of preseason, collected his first 1,000-yard rushing season of his career behind the Texans’ offensive line. Left tackle Laremy Tunsil earned his first career Pro Bowl selection.
2019 was special, too.
If the Texans can find a way to keep the same five starters together for a full 16-game slate, Houston should be contenders to win the AFC South for the third year in a row and also make noise in the playoffs.