Texans report to camp with many questions on offense
HOUSTON (AP) The Houston Texans know they'll have a solid defense led by J.J. Watt.
As they reported for camp Friday there were far more questions about the offense.
Second-year coach Bill O'Brien will use camp to decide whether Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett will start at quarterback.
Houston also must decide who will start with DeAndre Hopkins at receiver after franchise receiving leader Andre Johnson was released and signed with the Indianapolis Colts.
They also have changes one their offensive line after releasing veteran Chris Myers, who had started the last 112 games at center. Ben Jones is expected to move into that spot.
Despite all the new faces, left tackle Duane Brown is confident that the offense will be just fine.
''I think it starts with the system,'' Brown said. ''I think the system is very effective in what can be accomplished. I think we definitely have the players and talent ... we have all the pieces needed to perform well, we just have to do it.''
At receiver, three new faces will compete to for the second starting job. They signed veterans Nate Washington and Cecil Shorts III and drafted Jaelen Strong in the third round of this year's draft.
Shorts doesn't think catching passes from two different quarterbacks has made his transition in Houston more difficult.
''I wouldn't say so,'' Shorts said. ''All the receivers are getting reps with all the quarterbacks. Now, we're getting on timing, understanding each other, where to be and stuff like that.''
Washington, a two-time Super Bowl winner, doesn't lack for confidence and sees no reason for concern about Houston's offense.
''It's going to be like a thief in the night,'' he said of the offense sneaking up on people. ''A lot of people look at this team and they know our defense. They know the big names and they know what they expect of us. But at the same time, we have an outstanding offense at this time that we believe in.''
They also could get some help on offense from Watt, who won Defensive Player of the Year for the second time last season. He had three touchdown receptions last year lining up as a tight end.
''I'm going to do whatever it takes to help the team win,'' Watt said. ''And if I'm asked to do that I'm absolutely more than ready. It's something that I've worked on every offseason, but I've obviously worked on a little bit more this offseason.''
Of course he's far more concerned with his work on defense than anything he might do on offense. He had 78 tackles and 20 1/2 sacks last year to help Houston to a seven-game improvement and a 9-7 record.
The Texans added nose tackle Vince Wilfork in the offseason and hope last year's top overall pick outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney will be healthy in time to help the defense in the opener.
Watt is looking forward to seeing how the talented unit will grow together this season.
''You got guys at every single position that can make big plays, game-changing plays,'' Watt said ''So that's a lot of fun when you just you keep an offense guessing when they never know where the next play is going to come from.''
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL