Houston Texans add another veteran to Lovie Smith’s defense

It’s been a rough few years for the Houston Texans. But the team’s front office continues to make moves, especially on defense.

It’s a franchise that has taken its share of hits in recent years. After winning a total of six AFC South titles in a nine-year span from 2011-19, the Houston Texans have a total of eight victories in the past two seasons combined.

The club comes off a 4-13 showing in 2021, one year after the team finished 4-12.

A year ago, general manager Nick Caserio orchestrated a slew of free-agent moves and also watched numerous players leave the club as well. There were the Deshaun Watson issues and of course, he’s no longer with the organization after being dealt to the Cleveland Browns this offseason.

In 2021, David Culley was the Texans’ head coach and Lovie Smith was hired to run the defense. The former lasted just one year and the latter is now the club’s newest sideline leader. A year ago, the club gained the fewest total and fewest rushing yards in the league.

On the other side of scrimmage, Houston was next-to-last in total defense and run defense.

All told, Smith’s unit surrendered 52 offensive touchdowns in 17 contests – a disturbing 25 on the ground and another 27 through the air. The team finished with only 32 sacks. And things could have been worse if the Texans didn’t force 25 turnovers.

Caserio used the third overall pick in April’s draft on LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. He also added veteran cornerback Steven Nelson in April via free agency.

And now comes the signing of veteran edge rusher Jerry Hughes, late of the Buffalo Bills. While his numbers haven’t been overly impressive in recent years, he can still bring the heat. And his knack for the big play remains.

In the last three seasons combined, Hughes has dropped opposing quarterbacks just 11 times in 48 regular-season games. But a closer look shows he also has one interception, three fumbles recoveries, four forced fumbles and nine passes defensed.

Hughes has also played in a total of nine postseason games with the Bills and Indianapolis Colts. He has a total of seven sacks in those contests. And that playoff savvy is something the Texans’ franchise could us after the past two seasons.