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Know Your Texans’ Starters: AJ Cann

Can you do the Cann-Cann?

We’re starting a new series in what Marc Vandermeer calls the ‘desert’ portion of the year. While we await the season to slowly creep its way closer, we should learn more about the new faces donning the Battle Red and Deep Steel Blue this upcoming season.

The offensive line has been under the ire of fans for half a decade. The capital in draft picks and salary that has been expended is greater than the return the team has received. However, they enter the season with the most stable group of starting lineman they’ve compiled in quite a long time. The biggest question: who plays Right Guard?

The answer: AJ Cann

Cann signed a two year, $10.5mm contract with the Texans this offseason. Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Jags, Cann has been a day-one starter since he entered the league in 2015. He hadn’t played in less than 14 games in a season until 2021. That’s because he suffered his first serious injury when he hurt his MCL and was shut down for the season after four weeks.

Where he’ll play:

Cann slots in at the right guard position in between Tytus Howard and Justin Britt. The trio are the most veteran and quality group the Texans have amassed on this side of the line since Derek Newton and Brandon Brooks manned the post.

Unlike other lineman the Texans have preferred in the past, Cann does not have position versatility. A tried and true right guard who is run-first, pass-second, Cann will help establish the Texans run game from the get-go.

Why he’s here:

After six benchmark years in Jacksonville, Cann ended his seventh season with his first major injury in his career. He told reporting back in May he left the Jags seeking “to make a change and I felt like this (Houston) would be a good change for me.”

Right tackle Tytus Howard has always benefited from consistency and support surrounding him, which must have been a leading reason to bring in a seasoned veteran.

Additionally, he reunites with OL coach George Warhop his coach for three seasons in Jacksonville. Their first two seasons together Cann started 31 games and registered 1,697 snaps over that period.


Cann will compete with expectedly disappointing guard Max Scharping. Scharping was drafted by the Texans in 2019 as the 55th pick in the draft. A hot-and-cold first three seasons along with a change in coaching staff place Scharping on the outside looking in.

Cann is less of a long term solution than we think. For reasons we’ll soon discover he was never the most heralded lineman in Jacksonville. His lack of pass protection prowess will be the ire of Texans fans. He’ll be slated to start over Scharping due to knowing the new scheme and system better.

Why he’s starting:

Consistency. Consistency. Consistency. Cann has been in the league for a while and will provide the between Laremy Tunsil and Justin Britt.

Right guards are your best run blockers. They are movers of men. Cann stands at 6’ 3”, 315 pounds, a mammoth of a man. He’s not the most agile, but he is going to establish the line of scrimmage and bring back the Texans run game.