Earlier this month, it was reported that Matt Kalil was the frontrunner to open the season as the Texans’ starting LT. However, the fact that Roderick Johnson started in Kalil’s place in Saturday’s preseason contest led some to wonder whether there was still an open competition for the job.
Head coach Bill O’Brien unequivocally shot down that notion, telling reporters that Kalil will be Houston’s starting left tackle, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle writes. Kalil did not practice on Thursday after getting his foot stepped on during practice on Wednesday, but O’Brien said that did not have anything to do with his decision to keep Kalil on the sidelines. Rather, the Texans’ HC said Kalil would play in the team’s third preseason contest and that he is simply trying to manage the 30-year-old’s snaps.
Indeed, Kalil missed all of last season with a knee injury and he played just two games in 2016, so it’s understandable that the Texans would want to be cautious with him. The team’s O-line was its biggest weakness in 2018, and while Houston also added tackle Tytus Howard in the first round of this year’s draft, Howard is expected to begin his pro career at left guard.
Kalil’s injury history and Howard’s status as a small school rookie make it fair to wonder whether the Texans’ offensive front will actually be improved this year, but the club appears to be confident in that regard. Their performance will go a long way in determining Houston’s 2019 fate.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.