OCTOBER 8: The Texans will indeed have Howard and Tunsil back in the lineup for today’s game against the Falcons, per Rapoport. However, as Wilson reports, Howard will be returning to the interior of the line and will slot in at left guard. Earlier in the week, Wilson published a full-length article discussing the possbility of that alignment and noted that the presence of George Fant, who has played well at right tackle in Howard’s absence, could allow Fant to stay right where he is.
It is unclear if Howard at LG and Fant at RT will be a permanent arrangement, but if they perform at a high level today, it will be difficult for head coach DeMeco Ryans to make a change in that regard.
OCTOBER 5: Kendrick Green will not join Howard and Scruggs in the IR-return picture. The recent trade acquisition underwent meniscus surgery that is expected to sideline him for the rest of the season, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport notes. While Green did not suffer any ligament tears and is in line to be ready for Houston’s offseason program, he will head into a contract year coming having played in just four games over the past two seasons.
OCTOBER 4: The Texans have seen C.J. Stroud show considerable promise early in his rookie season, and the No. 2 overall pick has done so behind a backup-laden offensive line. That group is beginning to move toward full strength.
As expected, the Texans designated Tytus Howard to return from IR on Wednesday. Today marks the start of most teams’ pre-Week 5 practices. With this week doubling as the first for players on IR, NFI and PUP lists to be designated for return, Howard is one of several recovering performers to see his 21-day activation clock started.
Howard broke his hand in two places early in training camp and underwent surgery. He joined center Juice Scruggs and guard Kenyon Green in being placed on IR. Scruggs remains on Houston’s injured list, but a potential Week 6 return is in play for the second-round rookie. Green is out for the season, being placed on IR before teams finalized their initial 53-man rosters. While the 2022 first-round pick was part of the Texans’ O-line plans, he will need months to recover. Howard and Scruggs, however, are on the road back to action.
Houston gave Howard a three-year, $56MM extension this offseason. That deal followed pacts for Laremy Tunsil and trade acquisition Shaq Mason. The latter has been the only healthy Houston first-stringer up front. Howard, a five-year starter who has settled in at right tackle after being tried at guard and on the blind side, may well be back in uniform by Week 5. Tunsil has a decent chance of coming back as well. The eighth-year left tackle has missed the past three games, but Tunsil returned to practice Wednesday. Optimism exists the high-priced edge protector will be back in place Sunday, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson notes.
While starters are preparing to return, the Texans did sustain another blow up front. Kendrick Green is now on IR, the team announced. The late-summer trade acquisition suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee in Week 4, per Wilson, who adds surgery is likely. Green avoided ligament tears, but he must now miss at least four games.
The former Steelers third-round pick had been pressed into duty, starting the past three games. Those not only marked Green’s first starts since his rookie year but also his first appearances since that 2021 season. Adding multiple new interior O-line starters in 2022, Pittsburgh benched the interior O-lineman and unloaded him a year later. Pro Football Focus ranks Green 38th at guard thus far, showing a glimpse at improvement after a rough rookie year.
Teams are allotted eight IR activations per season. Howard will join punter Cameron Johnston, whom the team also designated for return, as two activations. Scruggs is set to take up a third slot for the Texans, who have started 2-2 behind strong early-season play from Stroud.