Texans G A.J. Cann says Lovie Smith reminds him of himself

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When A.J. Cann spoke with Houston Texans coach Lovie Smith about coming switch sides in the AFC South, it was as though the 30-year-old was hearing an echo.

Cann told reporters after organized team activities at Houston Methodist Training Center Tuesday that Smith shared some of the same traits he has.

“He reminded me of myself a little bit: really laid back, quiet coach,” Cann said. “He really doesn’t say much but you can tell he’s got a little spark about him.”

Smith’s spark comes when talking about the defensive side of the ball and the Tampa 2 scheme — or old school R&B music. Having previously won NFL Coach of the Year following the 2005 season and leading Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl berth at the end of 2006, Smith naturally has an appreciation for the other two phases of the game, particularly the trenches.

Smith referred to Cann as “another veteran presence that’s done it at a high level.”

“For him, comfort in his offensive line coach also being here,” Smith said. “Everything I’ve seen from him, another pro. Every time we’ve opened up the building since he’s been with us, he’s been in the building. That says an awful lot.”

Part of the reason why Cann has showed up consistently in and around team facilities at NRG Stadium is his diligence that allowed him to start 94 of his 95 games played for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2015-21. The former 2015 third-round pick from South Carolina missed just five games for his whole career until an MCL injury nixed his 2021 campaign four games in.

With Cann focusing on being the best version of himself and forming cohesion along the offensive line, it also keeps Smith laid back.

“I kind of like him to stay cool and quiet,” Cann said. “You don’t want to piss him off.”

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