Texans confident in new center Scott Quessenberry: ‘He didn’t miss a beat’

This is a 2022 photo of Scott Quessenberry of the Houston Texans NFL football team. This image reflects the Houston Texans active roster as of Monday, April 11, 2022 when this image was taken. (AP Photo) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

HOUSTON – Hunkered over the football at the line of scrimmage, Scott Quessenberry scanned the Denver Broncos’ defense Sunday as he adjusted blocking schemes on the fly.

Quessenberry snapped the football to quarterback Davis Mills, firing out of his stance to wall off talented Denver Broncos nose tackle D.J. Jones.

Quessenberry held his own for the most part as the replacement for Justin Britt, the veteran starter now placed on the reserve-football list for personal reasons related to football as he contemplates his options.

The third Quessenberry brother to play for the Texans after offensive tackle David Quessenberry and fullback Paul Quessenberry, the former Los Angeles Chargers fifth-round draft pick made a strong impression on his teammates

“It went really well,” Pro Bowl left tackle Laremy Tunsil said. “He didn’t miss a beat at all. It’s been very smooth, actually. He had a great game. He’s an open communicator. He did a great job for us.”

The confidence of his teammates is significant for Quessenberry, a former All-Pac-12 selection from UCLA. Joining the Texans on a one-year, $1.18 million contract his offseason, Quessenberry has gone from backup status to the starting lineup. Quessenberry could very well be the starter for the remainder of the season as multiple league sources expressed doubt that Britt will return.

“We just want what’s best for JB, we’re thinking about him,” Quessenberry said. “If he comes back, the sooner he can get back, the better. We like having him around. We like having him in the room. He’s a great guy. I texted him a couple of times.”

The Texans promoted center Jimmy Morrissey, a former Las Vegas Raiders seventh-round draft pick from Pitt, from the practice squad to back up Quessenberry.

A former nine-game starter for the Chargers in 2019, Quessenberry, 27, is a 6-foot-3, 310-pound California native who has played in 64 career games with 11 career starts. He played in 16 games last season with one start for the Chargers.

“Obviously, it’s under circumstances you don’t really want ever,” Quessenberry said. “You want to earn the job out of training camp. I haven’t done that in my five years, but I have played. I told you guys last week that wasn’t the first time I played in the league, and it won’t be the last time. Here we are, suiting up on Sunday.”

Quessenberry and quarterback Davis Mills had a smooth operation as far as center-quarterback exchanges.

“I think Scott has stepped up and done a really good job,” Mills said. “He communicates really effectively. Feels like he’s in really good control out there. We’re excited for him. He played well this last game and he’s ready to do it again this week.”

As for Britt, the Texans have respected his privacy. Britt, 31, was extremely upset about his performance in a 20-20 tie to the Indianapolis Colts, committing a false start penalty, causing another one by teammate Tytus Howard with a late snap and struggled to move as well as he had hoped for following a preseason during which he appeared in no games. Britt expressed disappointment with his play because it wasn’t up to his usual standard. That is what led to his prolonged absence from the Texans.

“It’s kind of cut and dry,” Texans coach Lovie Smith said. “As far as team is concerned, we have a teammate that won’t be with us for a while. Just like there’s an injury, when a teammate is not going to be with you for awhile, it’s about the next guy stepping up. Scott Quessenberry stepped us last week. We feel like we have depth there and we’re giving Justin everything he possibly needs to handle his situation.”

During the season-opener in overtime, Colts defensive tackle Grover Stewart shot into the backfield to tackle running back Rex Burkhead on a 3rd-and-1 run off right guard A.J. Cann in overtime for a loss of two yards, leading up to Smith calling for a punt that assured a tie.

“If there is a communication error, it starts with me being the voice of the o-line,” Britt said last Tuesday at NRG Stadium. “The guy who sets it all. I false-started for something that shouldn’t have happened. I was late on a snap and Tytus false started, and again, that shouldn’t have happened. Just things like that. Just do better next time.

“I think it just comes down to details, fundamentals, technique. My first live reps of the season, looking at myself, I was a little out of control. Whether that was excitement or game-day jitters, that’s something I need to improve on.”

The Texans signed Britt to a two-year, $9 million extension during the offseason. It’s up in the air whether he will play for the team again. That’s not the focus right now.

“When somebody’s dealing with something personal, you leave it at that,” Smith said. “You’re there for support. You give them anything they can possibly need to help them go through a situation. Then you stay away a little bit and just be there for him.

“That’s all the team needs: to know that a teammate is going through something and the teammate knows that the team is behind and supporting him in any way that you possibly can. Believe me, that’s enough for all of us right now.”

Britt has had plenty of support. Although he hasn’t gotten back to everyone who has reached out as he goes through his process and deals with his individual situation, he has received a lot of heartfelt messages.

“Obviously, with Justin, with one of our guys, he takes his personal time,” veteran wide receiver Brandin Cooks said. “You know what I mean? But, at the end of the day, we feel like we’ve just got to move on as a team, continue to push forward, and Scott did a great job. We’ve got confidence in our guys that are behind him. It’s kind of the next man up mentality while supporting Justin.”

Texans rookie running back Dameon Pierce rushed for 69 yards and averaged 4.6 yards per carry on 15 runs. The Texans were encouraged by how Quessenberry performed.

“As a unit, I think we did a fairly good job,” Quessenberry said. “We’ll continue to get better and strive for perfection. It was good communication across the board. There’s always things you can clean up. We communicated well.

“For that sake, it was good and it was all good. Ultimately, we didn’t win. I think I did some good things. I’m just trying to get better and give it 110 percent for the guys around me. I’m just trying to do my part.”

Aaron Wilson is a Pro Football Network reporter and a contributor to KPRC 2 and click2houston.com.


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