OL coach likes Derek Newton's progress

Coach Bill O'Brien wasted little time in announcing Derek Newton as the Houston Texans' starting right tackle during the spring.

But why should you believe Newton will be better at pass protection than he was last season?

First, he's healthier this year.

Second, his coaches have seen him get better at it.

"I’m quite surprised and quite pleased at his progress up until this point in time," offensive line coach Paul Dunn said. "I hope now that he has his pads on, he’ll continue to develop similar to the way he did during coaching sessions and OTAs.

"I think he’s improved on his pad level. I think he’s improved on his pass protection techniques and fundamentals. We’ve just gotten into the run blocking aspect because of pads just going on so I can’t totally comment on that, but he seems like he’s technically sound on things and has made some improvement. Assignments, he’s been pretty decent with his assignments of late. We’re encouraged by his progress."

Technique can be a moving target with the changing scheme for the Texans. Dunn said that's a point of emphasis for him, and the learning is different for young players and veterans.

"Young guys coming out of college that are rookies, you’ve gotta kind of break them a little bit of some habits," Dunn said. "Some of them have been coached tremendously. But our system, we do some things differently than they may have done in college. They have to be taught those techniques and fundamentals. Sometimes you’re starting right from the get go or sometimes you’re trying to break some bad habits. The veterans, they’re not just set in their ways. They have to understand that certain schemes require certain skills and fundamentals and they might not have had that in the past. They have to master those skills as they go along."