No matter where players start, what matters is where they finish. Texans head coach Bill O’Brien makes that clear when his team reports every season. No matter a player’s status in the draft or how many seasons he has had with the team, O’Brien wants players to know they have a chance. That type of message continues to play off the players in the meeting room and on the field, allowing the Texans to continue to build their roster, by looking at versatile players with a creative eye.
This season, the Texans added three rookie free agents: Brennan Scarlett, Joel Heath and Stephen Anderson. This trio was included in the team's rookie draft class after all three put together a strong camp and preseason.
“The only thing that we care about is how they operate, how they take care of business, how they play, how they perform on and off the field on a day-to-day basis,” O’Brien said of his players. “So those guys that you’re talking about – I’m not going to get into each one of them individually – but they all earned the right to be on the team right now. That’s the big thing.”
Scarlett came out of nowhere after missing most of training camp and, once activated, he came on strong to lock up his roster spot.
“I think that they obviously believe in me,” said Brennan Scarlett, outside linebacker. “It helps me a lot, too, to know that my coaching staff believes in my abilities and what I can do and it just leaves it to me to go out there and work hard and go out there and do it.”
"I was in shock. I was almost in tears. I realized all the hard work had paid off," exclaimed defensive end, Joel Heath.
The hard work that Heath referenced was how he outlasted players who were on the roster last season, which put him on fast track to land on the roster.
With two defenders now in the mix, tight end Stephen Anderson waited to hear if he made the Texans 53-man roster but found out when he walked into his positional meeting, getting ready for the Chicago Bears. His tight end coach, John Perry, said “Yeah, yeah” to him when Anderson asked if he made the team and his coach got him to take a seat so they could get to work.
Anderson credits his planning on landing him where he is at with the Texans.
“I set a goal to make a team years ago, through all the hard work,” Anderson explained. “So, all of that into one feeling, it was the greatest feeling I ever experienced. All that hard work, all the extra reps, all the making smart decisions, the discipline, it just felt worth it.”
Scarlett, Heath, and Anderson, when added to the Texans current draft class, gives the team a solid infusion of youth that appears to be ready to contribute the upcoming season.