By Elwyn Henderson
The Houston Texans officially began their training camp for the upcoming 2023 NFL season Wednesday, July 26th at their training facility of Kirby Street in Houston across from NRG Stadium.
2023 brings a lot of change from last season. Lovie Smith was fired after just one season at the helm and former Texans defensive star DeMeco Ryans has taken over the reins of the team after a tremendously successful stint as the Defensive Coordinator of the San Francisco Forty-Niners.
There will also be a new starting quarterback for the Texans barring something unexpected happening. Davis Mills was under center in his second season last year. He made some improvements from time-to-time, but never advanced to what is required of an NFL starting quarterback.
To address that problem, Houston drafted Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud. Stroud signed a contract with the team on Tuesday, just a day before the beginning of camp. While he cannot be expected to turn the team around on his own in his first year, he will immediately be an upgrade from Mills.
Additionally, the defense will be expected to improve in 2023 and that should most definitely be the case. The big question is how much will it improve, and along with the offensive improvement, how much better will the team be this season?
No one is expecting the team to make it to the playoffs, but ownership, coaches, players and fans expect some major improvement this season. That having been said, the pundits are predicting the Texans to be the third worst team in the NFL in wins this year. Without predicting the number of wins, just about everyone close to the team feels there is a chance to finish close to .500 if the team stays healthy and gels together.
General Manager Nick Caserio got the camp kicked off when he met with the media 45 minutes before the first practice of camp kicked off. He was asked if there was a special challenge going into the 2023 season with the new staff and new schemes.
“There always is because you know maybe less about that team. But there’s probably a good chance they have a track record. So just as an example, with Baltimore, new offensive coordinator, Coach Monken, so you’re probably going to have to go back and look at things he did in Georgia. They’re probably going to not do much in the preseason, let alone if Lamar even plays, right? You are going to have to prepare for some things. Week one there’s probably the most unknowns. It kind of starts to reveal itself a little bit. Everyone is going to have a core, solid foundation of what they’re going to do, then you’re learning, adjusting and adapting as you go.”
Following the first practice Head Coach DeMeco Ryans met with the media. He was asked what his expectations were for training camp and he replied, “My expectations are how much better can we get each and every day. Expectations, they’ll take care of themselves, right? Our team is still coming together. We’re still trying to identify who our team will be, right? There’s a lot of competition that has to go on. We’ll see where we are. Expectations, it really doesn’t matter because it’s about every guy going out and being their best and collectively as a group we’ll be exactly where we should be.”
The team will have 19 more practices before camp breaks. They will play their first preseason game on the road in Foxboro, Massachusetts on Thursday, August 10th at 6 PM. They will have their only home preseason game at NRG Stadium in Houston in Week 2 when they host the Miami Dolphins on Saturday, August 12th in a 3 PM Central time game. They will close out preseason on the road in New Orleans on Sunday August 27th at 7 PM.
Everyone is expecting this team to be better than the last couple of years, but just how much better they will be remains to be seen. There was a feel of excitement in the air at the first practice and hopefully, that will turn into much better play on the field in the regular season.