The Houston Texans are expected to be significantly more competitive in 2023 than they were throughout last season. Several ascending talents must take a step forward in order for that projection to become reality. One sophomore that appears primed to experience a breakout campaign is starting offensive lineman Kenyon Green.
The No. 15 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, Green was thrown into Houston’s starting lineup as a first-year blocker at left guard. Green was sidelined for Weeks 15 and 16 with an ankle injury, but aside from that short-term absence, Green was a mainstay in the lineup. He played 824 of Houston’s 1,063 total offensive snaps.
Green experienced his fair share of typical rookie struggles. Green was credited with allowing 4.0 sacks, 47 pressures, and 12 additional quarterback hits, per Pro Football Focus. Green was also whistled for 12 penalties. Green’s play earned him a pass-blocking grade of 27.0 from PFF, a run-blocking grade of 47.4, and an overall grade of 37.7. Improvement is both necessary and expected.
Houston’s offense wasn’t an ideal unit for Green’s baptism by fire. The Texans scored a 30th-ranked 17.0 points per contest. Their second-worst-ranked rushing attack ran for just 86.8 yards per game. That led to several 3rd-and-long passing situations, which is a tough scenario for a rookie blocker learning on the fly.
But Green showcased consistent improvement towards the conclusion of Houston’s year. Green wasn’t credited with allowing a single sack in his final five regular-season appearances, nor did he allow a quarterback hit in four of five of those contests. Green posted a season-high 84.0 passing-blocking grade against Myles Garrett and the Cleveland Browns in Week 13. Green posted his second-highest run-blocking grade of the season (66.0) against their arch-rival Indianapolis Colts in Week 18.
“It’s just like my freshman season of college,” Green said in December. “There’s a lot of learning curves, a lot of just growing pains. I’m 21 years old. I’m just excited to keep growing.”
Green didn’t have a full offseason to prepare for his rookie campaign. Green underwent knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus last offseason. Green also suffered a concussion during training camp. Now healthy and available, Green is taking advantage of a regular offseason training program.
The Texans also made offseason additions across their evolving offense. It starts with the drafting of quarterback C.J. Stroud with the No. 2 overall selection in April’s draft. Stroud represents a huge upgrade on Davis Mills. Hope springs eternal, but the Texans have legitimate reason to be excited about what Stroud brings to the offense.
The Texans also hired a refreshing head coach in DeMeco Ryans. Ryans hired Bobby Slowik to be his offensive coordinator. Slowik served as Kyle Shanahan’s offensive passing game coordinator last season. Slowik’s player-friendly scheme should put Green in more advantageous positions this season.
Green will be surrounded by a ton of talent The Texans traded for offensive guard Shaq Mason and signed him to a three-year extension worth $36 million. Mason will be a terrific mentor for Green. General manager Nick Caserio also signed left tackle Laremy Tunsil to a three-year extension worth $75 million. Green and his teammates are better positioned for success.
Ryans and Stroud are spearheading an exciting era in Houston. Green should thrive under Ryans’ and Slowik’s direction. A breakout campaign appears on the horizon for Green.
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