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Texans DE Will Anderson recalls funny moment with new LB Azeez Al-Shaair

Will Anderson is one of those players that remains self-aware. He knows how he’s acting on the field. He knows when he makes a mistake.

Anderson, the Houston Texans’ breakout first-round pick of last season, also isn’t fond of people calling him out when he already knows the problem. He’s willing to take the challenge head-on and correct the mistake internally.

That’s a philosophy new linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair isn’t accustomed to, nor will put with when on the field, and he made sure to call out Anderson for being down on himself.

“I jumped offsides and I got mad at myself,” Anderson recalled Wednesday following mandatory OTA practice.

Al-Shaair’s response to the upset Anderson?

“Stop f—— pouting!” the former Titans linebacker yelled.

It was the first time Anderson had been shocked on the field in ages.

“It was like, ‘Hold on now. Who you talking to?’ ” Anderson said. “And it changed my — I respected that. … Because as a man and as a player, I needed that.”

Al-Shaair, who joined Houston on a three-year, $34 million deal, is the extended mouthpiece of head coach and former Texans Pro Bowler DeMeco Ryans. The two have been apart once since the former undrafted free agent signed with San Fransico in 2019.

Like his coach, Al-Shaair isn’t one for putting up with hissy fits on the field. He’s willing to call out players, expect a response and then move forward with the drive.

To Anderson, that’s the mentality and type of player needed if the Texans expect to be more than yearly division winners.

“[We need] somebody that’s not scared to get on people when they do the wrong things,” Anderson said.

Al-Shaair has already gained the respect of his teammates from afar last season. Ryans, who returned to Houston after two seasons as the 49ers’ defensive coordinator, often would use film of his defenses out in San Francisco to implement an identity last year.

Oftentimes, Al-Shaair was the standout playmaker and teacher on the tape. He’s been the same since reuniting with Ryans in March, continuing to help players get acclimated to what his head coach expects.

“He’s been helping me walk through the system and learning this defense,” former Tennessee teammate and defensive lineman Dencio Autry said.

Anderson, who broke J.J. Watt’s rookie sack record with 7.0 quarterback takedowns in 2023, is looking to emulate what Al-Shaair is already preaching. He expects more of himself in 2024.

That sentiment carries over to the rest of the defense, including newcomers on the line of Autry, Pro Bowler Danielle Hunter and Foley Fatukasi. Anderson might be the youngling of the group, but his attitude has made it seem like he’s a veteran.

“He always holds himself accountable,” Hunter said of Anderson.

Story originally appeared on Texans Wire