Bill O'Brien insists Texans are improving despite quiet offseason

HOUSTON -- The Houston Texans are the only team in the NFL which has not signed a free agent from another team.

They have re-signed three free agents -- tight end Ryan Griffin, kicker Nick Novak and punter Shane Lechler -- and lost three defensive starters.

But head coach Bill O’Brien said although the Texans haven’t made many moves in free agency, they're still “doing things to improve [the] team.”

“Maybe you don’t see it, but we’re doing a lot of things on the inside to improve our team,” O’Brien said Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings. “There’s still a lot of time left. It’s kind of like I said, the one thing I’ve always said is it’s a fluid process.

“It takes a lot of time to put a team together. We have a lot of time here. We have the draft, we have training camp. We’re a long way from what that 53-man roster is going to look like. We know certain guys are going to be on our football team, no doubt about it, but we’re a long way away from what that team is going to look like. So, we know what we need to do.”

Of course, the Texans' quiet offseason could change if they are able to acquire quarterback Tony Romo, but he is still the property of the Cowboys, who are reportedly looking to trade him but might just have to release him if they can't strike a deal.

The Texans’ light offseason has been especially notable given the activity around the AFC South, especially from the Jacksonville Jaguars, who spent more than $160 million in the first two weeks of free agency, including adding cornerback A.J. Bouye and defensive tackle Calais Campbell. The Jaguars certainly know that offseason moves don’t equal success -- they “won” free agency last year as well and finished 3-13 and last in the division -- but they have definitely added talent.

The Texans have won the AFC South in back-to-back years, but finished just a tiebreaker ahead of the Tennessee Titans to make the playoffs in 2016. Tennessee’s biggest move during free agency was adding a top cornerback in Logan Ryan; the Titans have additional first- and third-round picks in April’s draft, which should help fill holes as well.

“Every team has their own way of doing things,” O’Brien said. “Like you said, Tennessee, Jacksonville and [Indianapolis] to this point, they’ve added players. They’ve lost players [too]. Everybody’s done some things to improve their team.”

Although Houston has had three winning seasons since O’Brien took over as coach in 2014, he said he knows how tough the division will be next season, and that’s why the Texans need to continue to improve.

“Our division is very tough,” O’Brien said. “We have great coaches, great players in our division. So yeah, I think the AFC South is a very tough division.

“When we have to coach against Jacksonville, Tennessee and Indianapolis, I know for us that is a very, very challenging game, very challenging games to prepare for and very challenging games to play.”