Texans guard Brandon Brooks keeping contract year out of his thoughts

HOUSTON -- Entering a contract year is a big deal for Houston Texans fourth-year guard Brandon Brooks. But it's not one he wants to think about or dwell on during training camp or the season.

"I know it's cliché to say, but the only thing that changes for me, I just look at this year [as if] it's really like being a senior in high school," Brooks said. "Just kind of the way I look at it. Leave it all out there and what happens after the season happens. I just never wanted to really consume myself with, 'It's my last year, I have to do this, I have to press for this.' Just want to go out there and play. Really, the contract situation and whatever will take care of itself. It's really something I'll probably concern myself with after the season and in the offseason, to be honest."

Brooks was a third-round draft pick in 2012 and has steadily established himself as a dependable and talented guard for the Texans. He began rotating into the Texans lineup his rookie season and became a full-time starter in 2013.

"When I first came in, it was a big jump for me really in all aspects," Brooks said. "First the playbook, coming from Miami of Ohio. Second the heat, coming from Wisconsin and Ohio. Thirdly my weight and what it's like to be a pro. I started playing, I think, Week 10 (of 2012), rotating in. That offseason I just really wanted to prove to myself that I belonged here."

He now finds himself a veteran whom younger players come to for advice. That seems odd to Brooks, considering he still seeks out left tackle Duane Brown and former Texans interior linemen Chris Myers and Wade Smith for tips on his play.

Despite his growth, Brooks sees himself as "nowhere near where I can be or where I want to be." He also has some lofty goals for the offensive line as a whole.

"We could be No. 1 in the league in rushing, no sacks at all," Brooks said. "That's what we're always shooting for each and every game, each and every year. ... I think we can be much better. I think we will be much better."