O'Brien expects big year from G Brandon Brooks, offers thoughts on center

In his offseasons, Houston Texans right guard Brandon Brooks spends some time focusing on life after football.

When Brooks returned for the first phases of the Texans' offseason program, coach Bill O'Brien saw the work he'd put into football as well.

"Brandon Brooks has come back in here in great shape," O'Brien said during a town hall conference call with season-ticket holders last week. "He’s had a much better offseason than he did last year. He understands the expectations. I saw him lifting the other day. His squat and his bench press. I mean this guy’s a very powerful, strong person."

Brooks is entering his third year as the Texans' starting right guard.

"He really finished the (2014) year on a good note," O'Brien said. "We’re expecting him to play really well. We have high expectations."

While Brooks is one of the offensive line's constants, the Texans made a big change at center this year, releasing veteran Chris Myers.

"Right now there’s Ben Jones, who has basically been out there during our coaching sessions," O'Brien said of the center position. "He’s done a good job. He’s smart, tough, loves football, good guy, good teammate."

The Texans have also worked James Ferentz, whose nickname is apparently "Brick," at center. O'Brien noted Xavier Su'a-Filo, the first pick of the 2013 second round, can also play center, but that he's focusing right now on left guard, where the Texans will expect to have him next season.

"He may have taken a week to visit his family back on the West Coast, but he didn’t really take too much time off," O'Brien said of Su'a-Filo. "He’s been here every day. He’s been working; he’s stronger, I think he understands the offense. … We really like what we see."