DeMeco Ryans: Texans need to 'earn prime-time moments'

Message delivered: The NFL and its television partners don’t deem the Texans, one of the worst teams a year ago, as worthy of being featured in a prime-time game this season.

In the wake of a 3-13-1 season that cost coach Lovie Smith his job, not even the arrival of highly regarded first-year coach DeMeco Ryans and drafting Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud and Alabama pass rusher Will Anderson Jr. compelled league office and broadcast executives to use the Texans as headliners.

The Texans are one of four NFL teams that aren’t included in the prime-time television schedule, including the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons and Indianapolis Colts.

“One thing that I’ve learned is I’ve just looked at it as for us as a team, we have to go out and earn, earn our right to be in those prime-time moments,” Ryans said Friday during a rookie minicamp. “So, it was a good opportunity for our team to just go out, put our head down, and work and just prove where we belong. Excited about it.”

The Texans have the third-easiest schedule. They open the season against the Baltimore Ravens and former NFL MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Their first home game is the following week against the Indianapolis Colts.

“We get the opportunity to go up to Baltimore versus a very tough team, Lamar Jackson,” Ryans said. “Going to be a tough matchup. They added some firepower to the offense this offseason. Great challenge for us to start out. We’re excited about that.

“More excited about the home opener where we get the opportunity to play for our hometown, play in front of our fans, and hopefully we can go out against our divisional opponent and put on a good show for the fans of Houston.”

After three consecutive losing seasons, the Texans are still considered one of the worst teams in the NFL in the offseason power rankings. While they arguably have a much better roster than last season and have added talent in veterans Jimmie Ward, Dalton Schultz, Sheldon Rankins, Devin Singletary, Denzel Perryman, Shaq Mason and Robert Woods, the Texans are still a work in progress.

“For me, it’s not about showing the NFL anything,” Ryans said. “It’s about us as a team just going out, working, and when you humble yourself and you work, you put your head down and work, you’re deserving of those things, then they’ll come to you. So that’s what it does for me, the internal motivation as opposed to external. We don’t have to go out and prove anything to anyone else. It’s just about who are we going to be as a team? What are we going to represent when we line up on Sundays?”

The Texans start every game at noon except for a Dec. 3 home game against the Denver Broncos and new coach Sean Payton at 3:05 p.m.

Most predictions for the Texans range between four and six victories, a slight improvement after a dismal season last year.

“You just have to look at the roster, and I think it’s a better roster this year,” Texans chairman and CEO Cal McNair said. “Very competitive. I see a lot of progress, a lot of good things on the way. We think we had a good offseason.”

Aaron Wilson is a contributor to Sports Talk 790.

Houston Texans Rookie Minicamp

Photo: Getty Images

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