Houston Texans: Chris Myers

Reading the coverage of the Houston Texans ...

John McClain of the Houston Chronicle says there's no reason to give up on Ryan Fitzpatrick already. In fact, he says calls to bench him are "preposterous!" One interesting stat he notes: Fitzpatrick plays better when he throws fewer than 30 passes with a 21-12 record. With more than 30 attempts, Fitzpatrick's record is 9-37-1.

Texans center Chris Myers approaches his 100th consecutive start for the Texans, writes Deepi Sidhu of HoustonTexans.com, and the people on his team couldn't be happier for him.

The Texans have nothing but praise for Myers, writes Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle. And really that's a theme with anyone who talks about Myers, teammates or otherwise. Myers will make his 100th consecutive start for the Texans this weekend. That kind of streak was built upon the fact that he kept away from injuries, and that kind of streak has taken a toll on Myers' hands.

As an aside: This story has been a focal point for the week and it's nice to see Myers showered with this kind of attention. He doesn't like talking about himself, at least not unless doing that will help someone else. That's what caused Myers and his wife Jenny to decide last year they were willing to share their son's story. They thought it would help raise awareness for children born with cleft lips and palate. This week I also thought about a story from a few years ago about how Myers befriended a young military widow and her son. And of course, Myers has been very instrumental in the Texans' DQ Strong movement that's both helped raise money for lymphoma research and given Texans lineman David Quessenberry a boost as he fights for his life.

Now, on to a non-Myers topic: Drew Dougherty of HoustonTexans.com details 12 reasons why the Bills' offense is a challenge, as told by Texans' coach Bill O'Brien.

They aren't easy on defense. The Texans offensive line will have its hands full stopping a very talented Bills defensive front, writes Dave Zangaro of CSNHouston.com.
HOUSTON -- Reminded of his ability so far in his career to avoid major injuries, Houston Texans center Chris Myers reached over to the wooden side of his locker and knocked on it.

That injury history, or lack thereof, is part of why Myers is approaching his 100th consecutive start with the Texans. Early in his career, Myers learned how important it was to take care of his body. He's nearly obsessive about it, and it's worked so far. Myers, 33, has the longest active streak of starts, regardless of team, among centers at 115 games.

"Any vet, any pro realizes that your body is kind of your career," Myers said. "If you want to be able to last a long time, you take care of it. I haven’t had any significant injuries, like I said, knock on some wood, but I think when you get the knick-knack ones, you’ve gotta take care of it."

Early in his career, Myers thought being in the training room was a sign of weakness. A former practice-squad member, he didn't want coaches to see him in there and think he was injury-prone. He later realized the appearance didn't matter -- the training room was a necessity for him.

Today, Myers begins the process of recovering his body each week on Mondays. He'll come into the facility an hour before anything the team schedules on Mondays to have enough time for some treatment for the soreness that comes the day after a football game. On Tuesdays, technically the team's off day, Myers goes in for some hot tub or cold tub time, any treatment he needs, and maybe some film work or an extra workout.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, days with full practices, he works on maintenance of whatever issues might crop up during the week.

Being 100 percent healthy during a regular-season week is difficult for a football player.

"It’s close to impossible," Myers said. "The older you get, I think the less chance you have of kind of getting back there. The older you get, the more you need to take care of your body and the more those little tiny injuries kind of linger throughout the season. But the more you’re in here and the more you kind of stay on top of them, the less hindrance they’re going to be on Sunday for you."

Myers even takes some of his treatment home.

He said: "If you can kind of implement that time in a regular day life, it’s a small sacrifice you have to pay to play on Sundays. To play the game that you love."

RTC: The offensive line edition

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
Reading the coverage of the Houston Texans...

They don't like to be talked about much, especially not as individuals. But the Texans' offensive line deserves attention right now for all the right reasons. The group made up of left tackle Duane Brown, left guard Ben Jones, center Chris Myers, right guard Brandon Brooks and right tackle Derek Newton came together in the team's Week 2 win over the Oakland Raiders.

We'll start with right tackle in this RTC. Kristie Rieken of the Associated Press delves into Derek Newton's improvement. While some talked about replacing him last season, the Texans' new coaching staff believed in him and helped him get better. His teammate, left tackle Duane Brown, also helped his development.

Houston's offensive line has paved the way for its 2-0 start, writes John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. He writes: "If the linemen hadn't been protecting Fitzpatrick like the president, he wouldn't rank second in the NFL to Peyton Manning with a 118.4 rating entering Sunday's game against the New York Giants. Running back Arian Foster wouldn't rank second with 241 yards rushing without a line that's provided him with the kind of convoy that's usually reserved for heads of state."

Patrick D. Starr of StateoftheTexans.com gathers a series of Vines from Sunday's All-22 film. There's a lot of left guard Ben Jones (number 60) doing his job really well.

One non-offensive line story for you before we wrap up here. Dave Zangaro of CSNHouston.com takes a look at just how important the Texans' turnovers have been. "They’re just the 12th team in the last 44 years to outscore opponents by at least 25 points and be out-gained by 40 yards in the first two weeks of the season."
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- We continue a look at some highlights from today's practice between the Houston Texans and Denver Broncos. Wednesday was the second of three joint practices before the teams face each other on Saturday night.

We've written a bit about the offense already today, so this post will be focus more on the defense.
  • Offensive line versus defensive line one-on-one drills are always great fun to watch. Today didn't disappoint. Texans defensive end J.J. Watt faced Broncos tackle Chris Clark. Watt destroyed Clark, much to Clark's chagrin. The offensive tackle respond by swiping Watt's helmet in frustration, revealing a grin. Watt then chastised him, saying he shouldn't get mad just because he got beat. I was also impressed with the push nose tackle Jerrell Powe got against his opponent.
  • During a red zone drill, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning threw two touchdown passes. Watt might have sacked him on one of them if the drill was live, but Manning got the ball out just as Watt got to him, so maybe not. After those two touchdowns, the Texans defense got their hands on a few balls. Defensive end Jared Crick knocked down one pass. Then, cornerback Brandon Harris had a pass breakup.
  • The award for the funniest moment of practice goes to the aftermath of a pick-six by cornerback Elbert Mack. As Mack sprinted toward the end zone, safety D.J. Swearinger, cornerback Josh Victorian and linebackers coach Mike Vrabel sprinted with him in celebration. Then Swearinger and Mack did that same hand-slapping celebration that drew a flag against the Falcons. "Yes, we did get flagged for that," Swearinger said. "I don’t know why, but I guess we can’t do it in the game no more. We’ve got to come up with something else."
  • Swearinger had his own interception, picking off Manning late. And he figures the tensions that boiled between the teams at the end of practice started with his play.
  • Texans center Chris Myers did not practice for the second consecutive day. He also missed last weekend's game against the Falcons. Myers did leave a practice against the Falcons early, last week, but O'Brien said today that Myers isn't hurt. "Here's a guy that's played a lot of football in this league and we're making sure that he's ready to go on September 7."
A few days ago, as he recovered from cancer treatment at his family home in southern California, Texans offensive tackle David Quessenberry called the team's video manager with a technical question.

He needed to make sure his tablet was working properly. He wanted to watch film of the practices he was missing.

The Texans are still very much on his mind. And just as much as they are, he's on their minds, too. That was never more clear than Saturday morning when every Texans employee not in uniform, starting with head coach Bill O'Brien, wore a T-shirt with a logo that said "Texans for DQ."

[+] EnlargeDavid Quessenberry
AP Photo/Pat SullivanTexans offensive lineman David Quessenberry was diagnosed with cancer in June.
What seemed like a simple gesture actually meant so much more. With that concerted effort, the team launched a fundraising project. They'll sell the T-shirts through their official store with a portion of the proceeds going to the Lymphoma Research Foundation in a donation in Quessenberry's name.

"To be able to ... see it all come to fruition with the shirts, it just means the world to DQ," Texans center Chris Myers said. "I was talking to him last night. He's obviously ecstatic he's got tremendous support from the organization.

"I think it just speaks volumes about what he means to us. The impression that he made on us before everything happened with the diagnosis. He's a great guy. Great character guy. Works his butt off out here. Throughout all last year coming back from the (foot) injury and trying to get into the lineup this year. Then obviously he got that news. Right when it happened he's had the utmost support from everybody."

Quessenberry was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins T lymphoblastic lymphoma on June 3. Some shortness of breath during a practice led to further testing, which revealed the sometimes fatal illness. The news devastated his teammates, especially those closest to him such as left tackle Duane Brown. It wasn't easy for Quessenberry, either, but he rarely let that impact his attitude.

"His spirits are already high," Brown said. "He's already been very optimistic, got his mind made up that he's going to fight this thing."

Almost immediately, Myers began devising a plan to raise money and awareness for Quessenberry's illness. He's worked with a local company called Running Game Clothing on fundraising efforts in the past, once to raise money for Operation Smile, a charity that helps provide surgeries for children born with cleft lips and palates. It was a natural partnership.

Myers wanted Quessenberry involved, too. Quessenberry helped pick the final designs for the shirts.

The team unveiled the shirts during Saturday morning's open practice. The Texans are asking fans who buy them to wear them to the team's final open practice of training camp on Aug. 14.

"It's great to see all the coaching support, everyone around the organization," Brown said. "Hopefully we can get some people to buy them, to wear them in the stands. It does a lot for me, it does a lot for the team, for the organization and it would mean the world to him."

Two months ago, Myers and Quessenberry were roommates when they attended guard Ben Jones' wedding. Neither of them knew about the disease that had already started invade Quessenberry's body. That diagnosis came the following week.

As he recalled that weekend after practice today, Myers smiled.

"It makes you realize how important life is," Myers said. "We're out there practicing on this field. I'm sitting here staring at this NRG stadium. It's pretty cool you get to play in the NFL. And he's out there battling cancer. So as much as we can do for him, we're going to do."
Let's call this an occasional look at the Houston Texans' process of putting together the team they'll take to training camp. There are many steps left in this, but the Texans have made several moves since my last glance at their roster.

We'll start with offense today, and look at defense tomorrow afternoon.

Quarterback: Ryan Fitzpatrick, T.J. Yates, Case Keenum
Analysis: Fitzpatrick is the grizzled veteran of this group, signed in free agency to either hold the Texans over this season or mentor the rookie who they want to become the future of their franchise. They've said they'll add a quarterback or two in the draft, and coach Bill O'Brien indicated three weeks ago that Yates and Keenum would likely go into training camp with the Texans. Yates wants a real shot at being a starter, and I can't blame him. Last week, Yates said he hadn't yet gotten a sense of his role from the new staff.

Running back: Arian Foster, Andre Brown, Jonathan Grimes, Ray Graham, Dennis Johnson, Toben Opurum, Chad Spann
Analysis: Foster is the (now healthy) starter and he said he will participate in organized team activities. Brown offers a good veteran presence and is by all accounts a great guy. But the Texans will need him to stay healthy as he's had injury problems throughout his career. As I said on my video earlier today, the Texans will draft another player, somewhere in the mid-rounds, that could grow into Foster's backup.

Receiver: Andre Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins, DeVier Posey, Keshawn Martin, Mike Thomas, Alan Bonner, Alec Lemon
Analysis: This group doesn't need much work, though O'Brien mentioned the need for a slot receiver during a recent town hall. I'd love to see Posey incorporated more into the Texans' next offense.

Tight ends: Garrett Graham, Zach Potter, Ryan Griffin, Brad Smelley, Phillip Supernaw
Analysis: Griffin and Graham both return from last year's roster, with Graham suddenly something of an elder statesman in this group. Since the Texans have 11 draft picks, and could accumulate more before it's over, there could be another tight end added to the mix, but there doesn't have to be.

Offensive line: Duane Brown, Chris Myers, Derek Newton, Brandon Brooks, Ben Jones, Brennan Williams, Cody White, Alex Kupper, David Quessenberry
Analysis: Don't have to worry about left tackle, center or right guard right now. Brown, Myers and Brooks have those positions locked down. Left guard Wade Smith hasn't been (and probably won't be) re-signed and right tackle, which featured Newton as the starter and Ryan Harris on some plays, was a position of concern last season for the Texans. Quessenberry had a lot of people excited before he went on injured reserve with a broken foot last summer. He played tackle at San Jose State, but can play guard as well and could be a good fit at left guard. The Texans are reportedly visiting with Auburn tackle Greg Robinson next week. While that's likely a contingency plan if they trade down, it wouldn't be outrageous to think Robinson could come to the Texans and play right tackle to start his career.
Consider these progress reports more than anything else.

Earlier today we reviewed where the Texans' roster stood defensively. Now we'll move onto offense, again with the understanding that this isn't what the roster will look like six months from now. There will be draft picks, free agents of the rookie and veteran kind and shuffling based on those moves.

It's valuable to look at where things stand now as a means of imagining how far the roster has to go.

With that we continue.

Quarterback: For all the talk of upheaval at this position, the three on the roster right now are the same three who were there when the season ended. Matt Schaub, Case Keenum and T.J. Yates are all still Houston Texans. That is likely to change dramatically by the time the season starts, because even if the Texans don't draft a quarterback first overall, they'll take one at some point.

Running back: Arian Foster remains as the starter, which means the Texans are in pretty good shape here if he returns healthy from his back surgery. There was that Instagram video in which Foster did a back flip ... but no one was hitting him then. Dennis Johnson, Jonathan Grimes, Ray Graham, Toben Opurum and Chad Spann join him on the roster, giving the Texans a lot of options as they try to figure out who they'll keep as their backup, with Ben Tate gone, and who they'll keep as their third running back. Johnson showed promise last season. A draft pick could be part of the mix, too.

Receivers: Andre Johnson comes back for his 12th season after a frustrating 2013 campaign. DeAndre Hopkins and DeVier Posey will play important roles in the Texans' offense next season. As Posey worked to get fully healthy, many thought he should have seen the field more. Keshawn Martin is still on the roster in his third season. Young veteran Mike Thomas signed a futures contract the day after the Texans' season ended. He started his career in Jacksonville and caught that Hail Mary pass Glover Quin knocked down in 2010. Alan Bonner and Alec Lemon, both rookies who wound up on injured reserve last season, are also on the roster right now.

Tight end: Garrett Graham re-signed Thursday with a three-year deal worth $11.25 million and will be the Texans' starter. Houston signed Zach Potter in February and have Ryan Griffin and Phillip Supernaw in the mix. This group is a little bit raw, but solid.

Offensive line: You can rest easy about center, left tackle and right guard as Chris Myers, Duane Brown and Brandon Brooks return. Elsewhere, be fidgety. Right tackle and left guard are still concerns. Though last year's starting right tackle Derek Newton is back, this could be a position addressed in the draft, possibly even with the first overall pick. Left guard Wade Smith is a free agent, but there's a chance he could return to Houston. Without him, I could see Ben Jones starting there or a scenario where the promising sixth-round pick David Quessenberry moves from tackle to guard. Brennan Williams, Cody White and Alex Kupper also return. Williams had a significant knee injury that landed him on injured reserve last year.
Until his staff is complete, Texans head coach Bill O'Brien won't announce any member of it officially, despite the fact that many of them have already been working for weeks and are in Mobile, Ala., scouting players at the Senior Bowl.

One of the vacancies is offensive line coach. The Texans are hoping to land former Titans coach Mike Munchak, a Hall of Fame player as an Oilers lineman. That gives him instant credibility for a line that will need a little bit of tweaking before next season.

That's where we pick up our "What went wrong?" series. We've already examined safeties, running backs, inside linebackers, receivers, outside linebackers, tight ends and defensive linemen.

Key Players: LT Duane Brown, LG Wade Smith, C Chris Myers, RG Brandon Brooks, RT Derek Newton, T Ryan Harris, G Ben Jones

What went wrong?: There will be a large swath of Texans fans who don't want to hear this, but this unit got beat up verbally more than they should have been last season. Yes, there were protection breakdowns; no, the run blocking wasn't perfect every time. But they were seriously hampered by two things: an inexperienced quarterback who lacked an effective mental clock and ridiculous injuries to running backs, who are a big part of pass protection.

Case Keenum averaged 3.7 seconds from the time the ball was snapped to the time he was sacked, according to ESPN Stats & Info. While I didn't crunch this year's numbers, that figure would have been in the top third of the league when it came to most time between snap and sack last season, per numbers examined by Pro Football Focus.

The one position that was a major problem was right tackle, where Newton struggled in pass blocking. The Texans might have had more leeway there had third-round pick Brennan Williams been healthy. Williams spent the whole season on injured reserve.

Reason for hope?: If the Texans can land Munchak, his influence will be good for this group. Smith becomes a free agent in March, so that could be a position that changes. I'm not sure Smith was ever healthy this season, though he insisted he was. Myers and Brown had solid seasons and Brooks steadily improved and showed he can be a strong piece for the future of this line.

Chris Myers to appear on Today Show

November, 1, 2013
HOUSTON -- With the Texans scheduled to appear on NBC's Sunday Night Football this weekend, the network's Today Show will have Texans center Chris Myers and his family on for a short segment this morning.

You can catch them during the 9 a.m. hour.

Myers will be making the appearance to raise awareness for cleft lips and palates. His son Keane was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate. He and his wife Jenny shared Keane's difficult journey with me this summer.

An excerpt from that story, the moment they first saw him after his surgery:
Chris, Houston's Pro Bowl center, puts his hand on Keane's soft blonde hair. He lowers his bearded face and kisses his son.

"Keaner, are you in there?" Jenny Myers says gently as she soothes him. She wipes tears from around her eyes and strokes his little right hand with her left thumb.

Blood-caked stitches run down the front of Keane's face, from the bottom of his newly shaped nose to the sewn-together upper lip that makes a peak at the center. His lips never fused together in his mother's womb. Neither did the roof of his mouth. At birth, the flesh that should have made up the underside of his nose down to the center of his upper lip protruded in a pink bulb in the center of his face, detached from the other sides of his lip. He needs special equipment to eat. Without surgeries, speaking would be a challenge.

For six months his parents have worked to help him eat even with the defects, helped reshape his lips by attaching a retainer-like apparatus to it and helped shield him from strangers' callous stares. And for six months, he's taught his family and their close friends lessons in empathy and acceptance.

Today's surgery took three hours. Wires and tubes still connect him to a machine checking his vital signs. One ankle is wrapped in green medical tape with teal dinosaurs on it.

Locker Room Buzz: Houston Texans

October, 7, 2013
SAN FRANCISCO -- Observed in the locker room after the Houston Texans' 34-3 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

Coach is succinct: The first question for Texans coach Gary Kubiak was whether or not Matt Schaub was his starter: "Yes, he is," Kubiak replied, simply.

Leaving the field: Prior to walking into the locker room, Schaub was the fourth player off the field as the 49ers ran out the clock. Schaub was heckled roundly by San Francisco fans as he walked but stared straight into the tunnel. Andre Johnson was one of the last players to leave the field, and as he approached the sideline, he began peeling off his jersey and shoulder pads.

Support of a friend:Center Chris Myers is one of Schaub's closest friends on the team, and Myers offered support for Schaub postgame. He stressed that Schaub helped lead the Texans to a 20-3 halftime lead last week. "He's in a slump a little bit, but he's got the whole team at his back."
HOUSTON -- Chris Myers leans over his baby Keane, cradled in his wife's arm in Room 18 of Memorial Hermann Hospital.

When they named him Keane, they didn't know the name's roots meant "fighter" and "handsome." Between his parents, still groggy and numb, the 6-month-old boy continues to fight through his next challenge.

Chris, Houston's Pro Bowl center, puts his hand on Keane's soft blonde hair. He lowers his bearded face and kisses his son.

"Keaner, are you in there?" Jenny Myers says gently as she soothes him. She wipes tears from around her eyes and strokes his little right hand with her left thumb.

Blood-caked stitches run down the front of Keane's face, from the bottom of his newly shaped nose to the sewn-together upper lip that makes a peak at the center. His lips never fused together in his mother's womb. Neither did the roof of his mouth. At birth, the flesh that should have made up the underside of his nose down to the center of his upper lip protruded in a pink bulb in the center of his face, detached from the other sides of his lip. He needs special equipment to eat. Without surgeries, speaking would be a challenge.

[+] EnlargeChris Myers and Jenny Myers
Courtesy the Myers familyThe Texans' Chris Myers and his wife, Jenny, hold their three children. From left, daughters Makenna and Cailin, and son Keane.
For six months his parents have worked to help him eat even with the defects, helped reshape his lips by attaching a retainer-like apparatus to it and helped shield him from strangers' callous stares. And for six months, he's taught his family and their close friends lessons in empathy and acceptance.

Today's surgery took three hours. Wires and tubes still connect him to a machine checking his vital signs. One ankle is wrapped in green medical tape with teal dinosaurs on it.

"I don't see my baby, and it's hard for me," Jenny says.

She misses the gappy smile Keane showed often that came with his bilateral cleft. She worries about the shape of his upper lip. She worries about the swelling in his cheeks.

"We have to trust Dr. T," Chris says, reassuring her as he's done many times before. "He seemed positive nose-wise and lip-wise."

The rest of his teammates are preparing for a light practice the day after the Texans' fourth preseason game. Some will be cut later in the day as the Texans work to reduce their roster to 53 players. But coach Gary Kubiak excused his center from traveling to the game and from the day's activities so he could be with Keane for the first of a series of surgeries that could last into his teenage years. Before a team meeting that day, Kubiak calls to see how the surgery went, wanting to update the rest of the Texans.

Right now, though, Myers' job doesn't enter his thoughts. All that matters is Keane. His life will change because of this surgery.

(Read full post)

Reading the coverage of the Texans...

In the wake of inside linebacker Brian Cushing's signing, the Houston Chronicle created a slideshow of the highest-paid Texans sorted by guaranteed money. In order: receiver Andre Johnson, quarterback Matt Schaub, cornerback Johnathan Joseph, left tackle Duane Brown, Cushing, running back Arian Foster, center Chris Myers, defensive end Antonio Smith, defensive end J.J. Watt (on his fully guaranteed rookie deal), tight end Owen Daniels and safety Danieal Manning.

Dale Robertson of the Chronicle begins this day-after story on Cushing's extension with a fun anecdote about Cushing head-butting Justin Tuggle before the Texans' preseason game against the Miami Dolphins. It is quite possible the most Brian Cushing of all anecdotes. Robertson also uses some of Cushing's thoughts from his press conference yesterday.

During the press conference, Cushing and general manager Rick Smith talked about how closely they kept in touch during Cushing's rehab. Smith paid serious attention on his own, and Cushing made sure he knew every time Cushing hit a new milestone. He sent photos and videos regularly to show his general manager how well he was healing. Kristie Rieken of the Associated Press starts there.

A view from the other side: Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune scouts the Texans. He calls Watt, Foster, Cushing and Johnson players in the top five at their position (forgetting Brown, who I'd certainly say is in the top five at left tackle), but calls Schaub "more caretaker than playmaker."