Texans S Justin Reid seeks to forge chemistry with new teammates in reality

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Mark Lane
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Houston Texans safety Justin Reid sees the benefits of having a virtual offseason.

In 2020, the NFL was forced to go virtual for its offseason program as the world grappled with the burgeoning COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2021, with a better handle on how to live in a post-COVID world, franchises want to return to the year 2019 with full offseason program inside team facilities. Players would like to adopt the virtual offseason program full-time.

Reid sees both sides of the argument.

“The virtual program, I think it’s a good idea as far as guys wanting to travel less,” Reid told reporters on a Zoom call on April 23. “I think it would be good to have an option. Some guys it could benefit them, especially young guys or guys who are injured if they’re already in the building to just be here in person.

“Other guys might already have their system. If you’ve been in the league for eight, 10 years, you already know how to get yourself ready to play for the next season. So, I think having an option there would be great.”

However, Reid personally is entering his fourth year with the Texans, who are coming off of a 4-12 season that saw Bill O’Brien, the coach and general manager, fired after an 0-4 start. Not only did Houston get a new general manager, but they have a new coach in David Culley and defensive coordinator with Lovie Smith, who will run a Tampa-2 scheme and get away from the team’s 3-4 defense they had been running since 2011.

Throw in new general manager Nick Caserio and his over 70 roster transactions since taking the job on Jan. 5, and the Texans need more reality and less virtual to get ready for 2021.

“We’ve got so many new people, front staff, a coaching staff, the players themselves, I think the D-line has like 16 guys,” said Reid. “It would be huge to get us all in the same building at least at some point so we can talk ball in person, because I do think there is some value in doing it in person to where you can read each other’s reactions, you can talk ball with each other, get to know the tendencies of your teammates, get to know your coaches’ coaching style and be able to ask questions in person that you wouldn’t get online.”

Some players do better in person than online anyway. Former All-Pro running back David Johnson is one of them. Reid is also an individual who excels better in reality than in virtual.

Said Reid: “I did virtual school this past year, and I did okay, but it’s not the same as when I was actually in class. I’m an in-class type of guy. I think it would be beneficial if we were able to get the guys in the building, talk a little ball, have a little chemistry.”

The Texans have had participation in their offseason program, which kicked off April 19. Some players may agree with Reid that in-person is better than virtual.