When I think back on all the years of Houston Texans fandom, lots of exciting moments come to mind. J.J. Watt’s playoff pick 6, Matt Schaub’s Bulls On Parade bootleg bombs to Andre Johnson. Arian Foster faking defenders out of their cleats again and again.
In that jumble of joy is one solid memory of DeMeco Ryans. I don’t recall what game it was, not 100% sure who it was against, although I seem to think it was the Indianapolis Colts. What I do remember is Ryans decleating an opponent, getting right back up and directing the rest of the defense to prepare for the hurry up offense, saying something to Brian Cushing, then crushing the running back on the very next play.
In that memory is the snapshot of the Houston Texans latest, and possibly greatest, head coach.
Ryans led the defense to a stop. Got up, immediately took charge and on-field-coached his teammates, then executed another stop on the very next play. He didn’t get up and act like he made the greatest tackle on earth, effectively wasting seconds and energy in self congratulatory nonsense. He didn’t look to the sidelines, or to Brian Cushing for what to do next.
He took charge.
And, in doing so, he ensured his team had back to back success.
At the time, I simply looked on in admiration for a great player who made great plays. In retrospect, a great coach to be was on display. Like Seth Payne said recently, a leader of men was doing just that: leading men.
Over the last many, many years, the Houston Texans have sorely lacked that sort of leadership. Sure, J.J. Watt and Andre Johnson embody it as well, but the coaching staff did not. And the lack of that level of efficient, effective leadership took a 12-4 team poised for greatness and over the course of a decade, turned them into an average one, before plummeting to the bottom of the league.
And with that, the Houston Texans, OUR Houston Texans turned into a laughing stock. The butt of more jokes than anyone in H-Town deserves to hear. “The Texans are coming to town? Mark that in the W column!”
Well, not anymore.
It is hard to guarantee anything in sports but I can guarantee you this, the Texans hired a great man and teacher/coach. DeMeco Ryans is an inspire and trust leader! He will maximize the building! That is a guarantee!— Sean Salisbury (@SeanUnfiltered) February 1, 2023
While it will take time, the pushover Texans who make inexplicably bad coaching decisions, come out of the locker room looking bewildered - or worse, woefully unmotivated and unprepared - are gone.
While 2023 might not be the total rags to riches season, it could be. Likely won’t, but it is possible now. Something that really wasn’t worth stating prior to hiring Ryans.
Even better, the 2024 season should and will see the Texans return to dominance in the AFC South on their way to owning the AFC and eventually the NFL.
While he has some very vocal detractors, Nick Caserio has managed to clear a lot of the leftover Jack Easterby/Bill O’Brien cap deadwood. In 2024, as things stand right now, the Texans will have more cap space than almost anyone in the league. Granted, that will all change with the signing of new free agents, re-working of Laremy Tunsil’s deal, trade of Brandin Cooks, etc. But, Caserio is certainly trending the right way for a team that has a great coach who will get the most out of an average roster, and even more out of a good one.
If you are a Texans fan and you aren’t excited right now, it’s likely because you’re dead...