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Is the Houston Texans secondary ready to take the next step?

Turning a weakness into a strength.

NFL: Preseason-Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

With less than a week to go until NFL Kickoff 2023, the predictions, off-season wrap-ups and more are reaching a fever pitch.

Across the board, the main theme for Houston Texans predictions is marked by the notion the team has modestly improved. That improvement will see the Texans rise from the NFL basement into the middle of the pack, in large part due to a more effective defensive backfield.

Sorry, no immediately glory and brand new AFC South championship banner is likely happening this season. But, good things will occur.

According to NFL Communications, the Texans have the third best strength of schedule coming into 2023. Houston will face five opponents with a .500+ win percentage in 2022 and five who made the 2022 playoffs.

That also means less superstar quarterbacks hurling the ball to all-pro wideouts. One factor that should help the defensive backs this season.

ESPN’s Team Previews 2023

What do the Texans do the best?

Limit passing offenses. On paper, their secondary could be remarkable if the starting group of cornerbacks, Derek Stingley Jr., Steven Nelson and Tavierre Thomas, pair well with the safety duo of Jalen Pitre and Jimmie Ward in head coach DeMeco Ryans’ scheme. Ryans’ system fits their play style better than under former coach Lovie Smith, and even in that system last season, they had more interceptions (16) than allowed passing touchdowns (15, the league low). — DJ Bien-Aime

NFL Communications

For the fifth time since 2000, multiple defensive backs recorded at least 125 tackles in the same season, as a pair of Texans accomplished the feat in 2022, becoming the first pair of defensive back teammates to each record at least 125 tackles in the same season.

JALEN PITRE led all rookies and all

defensive backs with 147 tackles, tied with Budda Baker (147 tackles in 2019) for the most tackles by a defensive back since 2000. He also became the fourth defensive back since 2000 with at least 125 tackles and five interceptions (five) in season.


2019 ARI Budda Baker 147

2022 HOU Jalen Pitre 147

2000 ARI Pat Tillman 142

It would appear the team itself very much believes in the secondary as well, with Pitre and Ward landing Team Captain honors.

While cutting Desmond King is still a head scratcher, In DeMeco We Trust remains in full effect. King landed with the Pittsburgh Steelers and hopefully Houston won’t regret letting the vet leave NRG.

With Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens ready to take it to the Texans this Sunday, which defensive back do you think will have the best game? Best season?