HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – Chris Clark has been around some good NFL offenses.
So far as he sees it, the 2017 Houston Texans look the part.
“I’ve been around long enough to where, you know when you’re around that type of caliber team,” the veteran swing tackle said Tuesday after OTAs at the Houston Methodist Training Center. “The things we’re displaying on the field, different positions, different situations — it looks really good.”
Clark, 31, has split his seven-year NFL career with the Texans, who traded for him two offseasons ago, and the Denver Broncos.
Among those teams?
The 2013 Broncos squad, led the NFL in points scored, had Peyton Manning set the single-season touchdowns and yards record, and, eventually, made it all the way to the Super Bowl.
Though the 2014 team suffered a bit of a hangover, going 12-4 in the regular season but one-and-done in the playoffs with a loss to the Indianapolis Colts, it featured many of the players that won it all in 2015.
So, Clark speaks from experience.
What makes him think this team is special?
“The way we’re moving the ball, you know?” Clark said. “Just things we’re doing as an offense — it’s looking real promising. You still have to put it together. Training camp. You know how that goes. (This is) just the entry-level phase of what’s to come.”
After the way the offense looked last season, it’s a low bar to clear. Brock Osweiler emerged as one of the worst starting quarterbacks in league history, benched just 14 games into a four-year, $72 million contract. Despite a massive free agent class, including running back Lamar Miller and right guard Jeff Allen, the unit scored only 26 touchdowns, 30th in the NFL last season, and ranked third-worst in Football Outsiders DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) a measure of efficiency.
But this year should be different, Clark said.
Among the things he’s found most impressive, Clark said, is the performance of the Texans quarterbacks. Namely, Tom Savage, who’s been named the starter by head coach Bill O’Brien, and Deshaun Watson, who was drafted No. 12 overall a few months ago, after a Draft Day trade that cost the team an additional first rounder.
“Tom’s looking good, man,” Clark said. “Looking real sharp. Ball’s on point. Control of the huddle. We’re looking real good, man. I’m excited about it.”
When asked how Watson is handling transitioning to the NFL game, specifically with commanding a huddle and play-calling terminology, Clark said he’s been impressed with him so far.
“He looks good. He looks really good,” Clark said.
“I’m proud of Deshaun. He was a winner in college. We’re looking for him to bring those type of qualities here, and we can just keep rolling. I like what we see.”
Of course, Clark has his own performance to worry about. According to Pro Football Focus, Clark was the worst pass-blocking right tackle last season. Less than good news for a team with an NFL-high eight starting quarterbacks since 2014.
So, can Clark do better this season?
“A better leader, man,” Clark said. “I want to be better than I was last year. I feel there’s always room for improvement. Helping the young guys, pulling along. Just different things like that.”
In the end, Clark said, he expects his contribution to be a part of something big this season. He said he can almost feel it.
“You can sense something,” Clark said. “You can sense the urgency. Just different things going on. Guys are just — their qualities are showing. It’s brightening. Everybody’s just piggy backing off of those things.”
Matt hosts “Hear Me Out,” Saturdays from 1-4 pm on SportsRadio 610, and “The Matt Hammond Show,” weekdays at 11 am on Facebook Live, Twitter and Periscope. You can, and totally should, follow him on Twitter.com.