Texans TE Pharaoh Brown reflects on journey ahead of Week 1 start against the Jaguars

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HOUSTON — Pharaoh Brown has come a long way after he went undrafted in 2017. He signed with the Houston Texans in September of 2020 after an injury to Jordan Akins left the team short at the position. Nearly a year after making his initial debut in Houston, Brown will be the Texans’ starting tight end during their Week 1 contest against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

“This year, I’ve been named the starter, so obviously I’ll be playing a lot more,” Brown said at the end of Friday’s walkthrough practice at Houston Methodist Training Center. “Just taking advantage and doing one play at a time when I’m out there. I just look forward to playing my game. I don’t really think about, ‘Oh, I’ve got to go out there and do something.’ I just go out there and be Pharaoh, and that’ll be enough.”

Despite being named a starter for the Texans this season, Brown doesn’t consider himself as an established player just yet. Perhaps it’s the meek journey to his season opener that keeps Brown grounded and working each day.

Brown accomplished another milestone during the NFL’s cutdown day when he was one of 53 names to crack the Texans’ roster for the 2021 season. It marked the first time in Brown’s career he made the initial 53-man roster. According to Brown, it’s the little victories that make the journey worth it.

Before joining the Texans, Brown spent the 2019 season bouncing back-and-forth between the active and the practice squad roster for the Cleveland Browns. He and Tyrod Taylor — Houston’s starting quarterback for the year —most significant task was to serve as a scout team to help prepare Cleveland’s defense during practice.

Back at their natural position, the Texans will rely upon both Brown’s and Taylor’s offensive attributes in hopes of winning their season opener inside NRG Stadium.

“Tyrod’s a playmaker, he’s been around this league a long time,” he said. “He’s led teams to the playoffs, and I’m just excited that he said he’s going to throw the ball to me. I haven’t gotten a lot of balls in my past, so I’m just happy that he said that.”

In 13 career games with the Texans, Brown has proven that he could be a contributor in the passing game. But his best contribution to Houston’s offense is his run blocking. Last season, Brown recorded a run-blocking grade of 75.5, according to Pro Football Focus.

“In the run game, we have a great offensive line, some great guys that play a lot of great football in their past years,” Brown said. “We have some dogs on the front line. We’ve got some great backs: Mark Ingram, Phillip Lindsay, David Johnson, Scottie (Phillips), so I think the way that they want to do it, we have the tools to be able to do it and bring it. I know that’s something the Texans haven’t had in the past.”

Brown and the Texans are entering Week 1 of the regular season as -3.5 point underdogs against the Jaguars. It’s the first of 17 games the Texans are entering the game as underdogs, as the general belief feels Houston will tank the season.

As a leader on this team, Brown says he uses the negativity as motivation because the Texans play to win. He says each time his teammates steps onto the field — the Texans will be giving 100% effort to win. It’s an endeavor Houston fans can appreciate when cheering their team to victory throughout the season.

“I’m excited about the opening game — we’ve got fans there,” Brown said. “Last year when I was here, we didn’t have any fans, so just to feel that energy Sunday, I’m looking forward to that. Pretty sure it’ll be a packed house. It’s always good to start off in the division. That’s our way to getting where we want to be at the end of the year, so I’m very excited.

“It’s a new Texans way of football here, and I’m excited to be able to be a part of it and be able to show it on this coming Sunday.”