Sources: Texans' Kenyon Green, Juice Scruggs injured

Hard luck has defined the Texans’ offensive line situation lately.

Texans left offensive guard Kenyon Green is dealing with a shoulder injury and other medical issues while rookie starting center Juice Scruggs strained his hamstring, according to league sources, and both could be sidelined for the first game of the regular season against the Baltimore Ravens.

And right tackle Tytus Howard remains in a cast as he is working his way back from hand surgery to repair two broken bones and had metal hardware inserted to aid the healing process. While Howard has not been ruled out yet for the Ravens game, sources emphasize it will be touch-and-go for him to return in time. George Fant is the projected starter with Howard sidelined.

Green worked with the second-team offense as Michael Deiter started Sunday night against the New Orleans Saints. Green struggled with the second-team offense as he allowed rookie first-round defensive tackle Bryan Bresee to beat him on a spin move to sack quarterback Davis Mills. Green was in visible pain as he grabbed his left arm and was examined in the blue medical tent on the sideline. After he was checked out by trainers, Green remained on the bench in full pads.

“With the offensive line situation, Deiter, he was the guy that deserved more reps, so we gave him some of the reps seeing how he looked with the first team,” Texans coach DeMeco Ryans said. “Kenyon has done a great job of battling through. He’s been dealing with some things. He’s battled through a lot, and it’s been tough on him.

“But I’m proud of Kenyon and what he’s battled through that everyone may not know. Tough kid going through a lot, but he’s tried to go every single day and he pushed it for us, and I’m proud of his effort and what he put out there for us. He has been dealing with multiple things, and I’m proud of Kenyon.”

Drafted in the first round a year ago with the 15th overall pick out of Texas A&M, Green endured a difficult rookie season as he dealt with injuries and was overwhelmed by elite defensive linemen. The former blue-chip recruit from Atascosita underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and missed the entire offseason.

The Texans have invested heavily in the offensive line, including signing Pro Bowl left tackle Laremy Tunsil to a three-year, $75 million extension to make him the highest paid offensive lineman in the league, signed right tackle Tytus Howard to a three-year, $56 million extension, right guard Shaq Mason to a three-year, $36 million extension and traded for offensive tackle Joshua Jones.

“Whatever we need to do up front, we’ll do it,” Ryans said. “We don’t go if our O-line doesn’t go. We don’t go if our D-line doesn’t go. Whatever we need to do to continue to get better up front, we’ll do it and invest whatever we need to invest to make that work.”

A former Aggies consensus All-American, Green is determined to improve.

“I’m having fun,” Green recently told KPRC 2. “I’m out here laughing, listening to the music, singing the songs, just getting back to playing my brand of football.”

For Green, it’s a different personal sound track than the difficulties of his rookie season when he had his ups and downs. Green allowed 47 pressures and four sacks in 823 snaps. He had a 37.7 Pro Football Focus blocking grade, a 27.0 pass protection mark for the season, including a season-low 3.6 pass-blocking grade against the Washington Commanders when he struggled to slow down the charge of defensive tackles Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne. Green gave up two sacks and five pressures in that loss.

So, Green rededicated himself to his craft and set his ambitions on reaching his potential.

“Just rolling with the punches, just continue to push myself and block out the negativity and push for more positive things,” Green said. “Just cutting weight, making sure I’m in great shape. That’s what I’ve really been focused on.”

Of course, Green has heard the criticism. Most of the commentary, he simply blocks it out.

Does it anger or motivate him?

“Nah, I’m just a real nonchalant guy,” Green said. “I’m too laid-back for that.,”

Listed at 6-foot-4, 323 pounds, Green said he has dropped a “fair amount” of weight.

Signed to a four-year, fully guaranteed $15.9 million contract that includes a fifth-year club option, Green was a finalist for the Lombardi award for the Aggies before declaring early for the NFL draft.

“Just technique, technique and just finishing plays, really,” he said. “That’s what I’m focused on right now. Technique and finishing plays, hands inside, just trying to be the best player I can be.”

Texans have big plans for Tank Dell

Reversing direction after starting to his right, Texans rookie wide receiver Tank Dell darted 26 yards up the sideline to the Saints’ 43-yard line.

The Texans hope to utilize the speedy third-round draft pick from the University of Houston as much as possible, on offense and on special teams.

“When you look at Tank, he’s a guy who, as I’ve said multiple times, he’s been an explosive playmaker,” Ryans said. “Just how do you get the ball in his hands? Whether it’s at the receiver position or returner position, Tank is a guy who can make plays for us all over the field, so whatever Tank can handle, that’s what he’ll do for us.”

Xavier Hutchinson has best game of preseason

Tank Dell isn’t the only productive Texans rookie wide receiver. Xavier Hutchinson, a sixth-round draft pick from Iowa State, delivered his top performance of the preseason against the Saints.

Hutchinson had flashed throughout the preseason, but hasn’t been consistent. he caught four passes for 48 yards on six targets with a long reception of 24 yards.

“That’s all we ask for from Hutch is continue to get better, work hard,” Ryans said. “That’s what he’s been doing, and it showed. It was good to see it finally come to fruition last night with him making some big-time plays, so it’s good for Hutch just to see he just keeps getting better each week, and that’s all we ask of him, and I’m happy with where he’s headed.”

Aaron Wilson is a contributor to Sports Talk 790.

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