Houston Texans: Chris Myers

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.

Fitzpatrick
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.

Posey
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.

Foster
Foster
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.

Graham
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
11/01/13
7:39
AM ET
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
10/07/13
1:09
AM ET
SAN FRANCISCO -- Observed in the locker room after the Houston Texans' 34-3 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

Schaub
Schaub
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."
video
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."

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