Regardless you might think of Ryan Mallett or the committee Alfred Blue, Chris Polk and Jonathan Grimes; it's the offensive line that's going to make it all run or not run. So let's focus on it here.
Buried under the fallout of Mallett's promotion to starter, and Keshawn Martin's departure to New England, was the claiming of former Jets offensive lineman Oday Aboushi. Said O'Brien in yesterday's presser:
"We claimed Oday Aboushi. He was with the Jets previously and was on the wire and we claimed him to the 53. Add some depth on the offensive line. We traded Keshawn Martin to the New England Patriots and probably will be some more moves, who knows how many towards the end of the week here leading up to game time.
"Anytime you’ve got a guy on your staff that’s coached that guy and been a part of that guy’s development, I think we always want to try to get that input and Mike [Devlin, OL coach, former coach of Aboushi] gave us good input. He has a lot of respect for Oday and hopefully Oday can come in here and add depth and battle hard to play for us."
Naturally, when we hear that a new offensive lineman is on his way to Houston, we think, "Can he play left guard?"
"No, I think anybody that’s signed onto the 53, and I’ll say for the practice squad too, I think all those guys have a shot to compete. They go out there on the practice field, I made it clear to our football team this morning.In the last 24 hours, as an organization we made a lot of moves around here. We traded a player, made a quarterback decision, talking about a lot of competition in practice for guys as far as starters and things like that, moving guys around and asking them to do different things.
"That’s what this organization is about. It’s a competitive league. It’s a league about winning and these aren’t moves that are made in haste. These are moves that are made with a lot of thought and anybody that’s on that practice field has a chance to win a job and compete."
Among other things, Aboushi himself talked about O'Brien's system:
"I think the complication comes in the details and terminology. I think for the base, for the most part, being under (Offensive Line Coach Mike) Devlin and kind of knowing his terms and the way he goes about things, so that’s a little familiar to me. I think it’s just a matter of picking up the details and how they want things done and how they want plays run."
Back to O'Brien...he also talked about the readiness of tackle Chris Clark, whom the Texans acquired from Denver via trade:
"Yes, he’s got a good football IQ. He’s a veteran player. He started a Super Bowl. He’s played a lot of games in this league. We noticed him when we went there to scrimmage Denver last year during the preseason. He’s a versatile player and we’re glad to have him."
Duane Brown's injury, and the deplorable depth behind the starting five, is the catalyst for Clark and Aboushi's arrival. Brown missing Week 2 in order to heal up is the strategy?
"You know, I think that’s always part of the thought process. It’s more of a probably, not to pass that off to somebody else, but that’s probably more of a medical question. I think that’s something that we have a conversation about. I would definitely put him in the day-to-day category."
Final word on how the offensive line will fare versus Carolina, Bill?
"Look, I think that our offensive line is coming along. Did they play a perfect game last Sunday? No, I don’t think anyone did offensively. I think we’ve got to coach better and we’ve got to play better. But I do think that we’ve got a lot of versatile guys up front, tough guys, guys that are good teammates and they’re working really hard. I think we’ve had two good practices yesterday and today, so looking forward to those guys going out there and playing well on Sunday."
You can read the rest of the presser here, including words from Romeo Crennel and Vince Wilfork. Leave your thoughts down below. And pray to your deity of choice for no more injuries.
Texans vs Panthers coverage