Texans' OL coach James Campen brings 'great mentality'

With a bellowing voice and a lot of positive reinforcement, veteran offensive line coach James Campen is making his presence felt during his first training camp with the Texans.

Signed to a three-year contract as the replacement for Mike Devlin, Campen, 57, is a former Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints center who has coached the Packers, Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Chargers' offensive lines. He coached in Green Bay from 2004 to 2018, rising from quality control and assistant offensive line coach to offensive line coach and run game coordinator.

Campen spent the 2020 season with the Chargers. Afterthe Chargers fired coach Anthony Lynn and replaced him with Brandon Staley, that made Campen available for the Texans to hire.

“He's so fundamentally sound," Texans coach David Culley said of Campen. "He's a guy that played the game also this league, and he's had a great reputation of developing guys. He's had really good offensive lines where he's been before. He's taken young guys and developed them and gone on and had really good careers in this business. He's just been everything that we thought he would be.”

Houston Texans v Green Bay Packers

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Campen takes over an offensive line undergoing a lot of changes. The Texans signed former Seattle Seahawks Pro Bowl alternate center Justin Britt as the replacement for Nick Martin and have been experimenting with right tackle Tytus Howard at offensive guard. The Texans traded for former New England Patriots right tackle Marcus Cannon, who's on the physically unable to perform list after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery, and signed former Packers starting guard Lane Taylor, who's working his way back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered last season.

"Being here is a tremendous opportunity for us," Campen said this spring. "For all of us to start at ground level and build something is always a special thing. Offensive line, working hard. We’ve had almost everyone here all the time and they’ve done a heck of a job. I really appreciate all their efforts learning and doing things a little bit different. It’s been good.”

When the Packers fired Mike McCarthy, Campen coached the Browns' offensive line in 2019 under Freddie Kitchens for one season and was their associate head coach. After Kitchens was fired, Campen landed with the Chargers.

Campen has been praised by the Texans' linemen for his approach to the game.

“I just think he brings a great mentality into the room," Texans left offensive guard Max Scharping said. "Obviously, he's been doing this a really long time. He's played at this level himself. So, he knows what it's like. He knows what needs to be done. So just getting us in, getting our mentality: finish, cover the ball, and make sure we take care of our guy, stuff like that. It's great.”

Aaron Wilson has covered the NFL for 20 seasons, including the Texans, Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars. He has previously written for The Houston Chronicle and The Baltimore Sun. He’s on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL and Instagram: @aaronwilson7128.

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