This is a new and exciting time for the Houston Texans and their fans. It’s also an exciting time for people covering the team. Cody Stoots (@Cody_Stoots) has been covering Houston sports for a number of years up and down the radio dial. He currently can be found from 3 PM to 7 PM in The Wheelhouse on 97.5 (92.5) in Houston. He also hosts his own show on YouTube providing digital content on the Texans.
We wanted to sit down with Cody (figuratively) in our continuing series where we touch base with different Houston area sports journalists to get their takes on the Texans. We talked about the DeMeco Ryans hire, the quarterback situation, free agency, and long-term prognosis for Nick Caserio and the franchise.
Battle Red Blog: Now that DeMeco Ryans is on board, what do you think Texans fans can expect from him in terms of style of play, strategy, and aggressiveness? Do you see any good coaching comps for him in the NFL?
Cody Stoots: I expect a much better defense from the basics up. Lovie Smith felt like he was trying to make everyone play his antique defense and it didn’t work. The defense should be modern, use player’s strengths, and be able to adjust EARLY in games. I believe Ryans will do that.
A comp for DeMeco Ryans is tough because I am not sure if he is calling the defense yet. If he doesn’t, then Mike Vrabel is an easy comp. A motivator and someone who will have the ability to take charge in the game and make game-winning decisions. Vrabel ran one of the worst defenses in football before becoming a head coach, so it doesn’t totally compute. I wonder if Ryans calls plays if he is like a defensive version of these young offensive minds. He calls the plays, his side of the ball overperforms, and he still nails these in-game things.
BRB: Obviously, quarterback is going to be the biggest decision moving forward. Do you have a personal preference between Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud? Who do you think the Texans end up with?
CS: I prefer Bryce Young. I believe the Texans end up with Bryce Young. The size doesn’t bother me having watched him at Alabama. He did fine from a staying healthy standpoint. I like his playmaking ability and creativity a bit more than C.J. Stroud. I used to be Bryce ONLY, but I have softened on that. I would be okay with Stroud, I would be over the moon with Young.
BRB: Are there any players you see the Texans targeting when free agency opens? How do you see those priorities measured against what could be available to the Texans in the draft?
CS: I would think there will be some defensive linemen, linebackers, and a center in here. From the defensive line standpoint, there are some extremely expensive options and it becomes hard to figure out what Ryans will want either on the interior or edge. There are not a lot of edge options, but there should be plenty of defensive tackles. Maliek Collins played well last year, so it is exciting to think about pairing him with another veteran inside. I am sure Ryans will want a veteran linebacker he can trust.
The center feels like it might be yet another expensive option, considering Laremy Tunsil and Tytus Howard are close to being paid, but I want a vet on each side of Kenyon Green in his second year. Build the Great Wall of Texas for this quarterback. I trust these three spots in free agency more than I do wideouts. I’d think about a veteran running back too.
BRB: Nick Caserio has come under some fire considering that two coaches have been one and done and the team has combined for seven wins the past two seasons. How much rope would you give in his effort to turn things around?
CS: I am a bigger fan of Nick Caerio than most. I feel like his two first seasons have been marred by weird circumstances. While he doesn’t get a complete pass, he gets a little benefit of the doubt. Derek Stingley and Kenyon Green need to play well. You can’t miss on first-round picks. The 12th pick, another from the Deshaun Watson trade, also needs to be a hit. I would think there are AT LEAST two years for Caserio, but I would like to see some success this year earn him two more years.
BRB: Jacksonville went from the first overall pick to the playoffs in one season. Is that a realistic possibility for the Texans? If not, what do you see as a realistic possibility for them in terms of wins?
CS: No, it isn’t. The Jaguars had a second-year quarterback and a deeper roster than the Texans. I know they missed on the top pick with Travon Walker, as it stands now, but they added some nice rookies and they spent a lot of money. Not to mention, they have operated the past few seasons at a draft pick surplus compared to the Texans. 2024 is the year the Texans can be ahead of schedule, but not this year.
We want to thank Cody again for taking the time to sit down with us. He is one of the few local sports journalists to provide dedicated Texans content on digital media and has hosted shows up and down the dial in Houston. Please stay tuned for more sit downs with local personalities and hopefully we can catch up again with Cody down the road.