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2017 Houston Texans Training Camp Preview: Observing The Offensive Line

Today’s camp preview focuses on the Texans’ O-Line heading into the new season.

NFL: San Diego Chargers at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive Line might never become the sexiest or most interesting position to talk about, but coming into this season the Texans have a number of pressing issues regarding multiple starting positions on the Texans’ Offensive Line.

Xavier Su’a Filo Extension?

XSF has been much maligned over the past few seasons for a variety of reasons. His form has been spotty at times, which has lead to a lot of retroactive judging of Su’a-Filo compared to who was taken after him. Regardless of those issues, this season is going to be big for both Su’a Filo and the Texans. One thing XSF has working in his favor is that the Texans O-Line has undergone a variety of changes through the past few years. The one constant has been Su’a Filo’s partnership with Duane Brown on the left side of the offensive line. Their combination has been so successful that over the past two seasons the average yardage gained on runs behind the left tackle have averaged over 4 yards per carry per Football Outsiders. If XSF can extend this level of consistency to the others parts of his game then he could very well be primed for a breakout season.

Recovering From The Injuries:

To say the Texans offensive line has been under siege from injuries over the past few seasons would be an understatement. Prior to the start of last season the Texans lost their prospective starting Center Nick Martin for the entire season. Then during the Texans week seven match up against the Broncos the Texans lost their starting Right Tackle, Derek Newton, who tore both of his patellar tendons. While Newton probably won’t be returning to the football field anytime soon, Nick Martin is slated to return during this training camp for what will be his unofficial rookie season. For Martin, the real questions will be if he can displace Greg Mancz as the starter, and how he will integrate into the offensive line after not playing for a year.

The Future At Tackle:

The Texans Tackle positions have taken some big hits with Newton’s injury putting the position’s future into some disarray. Newton’s replacement at Right Tackle, Chris Clark, had a rough season at the RT slot—often struggling in pass protection. Clark’s form in particular has raised the question that rookie Julien Davenport could start week one at RT over Clark. Having Davenport starting right away could be beneficial for the positions future as current LT Duane Brown is now 31 and has a history of injuries .

This is probably the team’s most competitive position group. You could make a legitimate argument that a startint spot for three of the five offensive line positions this are completely up in the air heading into training camp. That being said, what do you guys make of the offensive line? Do you think XSF is finally going to justify his draft position? Who will be the starting Center and Right Guard? Do you think Juli’en Davenport will beat out Chris Clark at Right Tackle? Give us your opinion in the comments below.