Texans corner Steven Nelson on DeMeco Ryans being named new head coach: ‘It’s a breath of fresh air’

Tytus Howard: ‘It’s a great day to be a Texan.’

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Amari Cooper (2) is tackled by Houston Texans cornerback Steven Nelson (21) and Christian Harris (48) during the first half of an NFL football game between the Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans in Houston, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022,. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (Eric Gay, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

HOUSTON – The arrival of new coach DeMeco Ryans, an elite defensive strategist with an ultra-successful background as a Pro Bowl linebacker is creating excitement inside the Texans’ locker room.

The former defensive boss of the San Francisco 49ers’ top-ranked defense, Ryans was signed to a six-year contract to become the Texans’ sixth head coach in franchise history.

In the wake of a 3-13-1 season under Lovie Smith, who was fired after the season, Ryans’ presence is already providing a boost for players eager to start winning games.

“It’s exciting,” veteran corner Steven Nelson said in a telephone interview. “It’s a breath of fresh air to get somebody who’s had some success coaching. It seems like a lot of guys respect him. To have him come in and revamp this team and help out our defense, it’s going to help us out and help build our culture.”

Accustomed to winning, Nelson excelled at his position in his first year with the Texans after starting previously for the Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs. Now, Nelson is optimistic that the Texans can find a new energy with Ryans, a former NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year known for his leadership qualities and nicknamed ‘Cap,’ as a former defensive team captain.

“Fresh slate, I like that,” Nelson said. “Last year was my first year having a losing season in my career. That was pretty rough on me just overall. To have somebody come in that is demanding to win and wants to win, that’s also a breath of fresh air.”

Nelson’s enthusiasm is met by Texans offensive tackle Tytus Howard.

Like Nelson, he’s eager to win and is embracing a fresh start.

“It’s a great day to be a Texan,” Howard said. “I’m excited to play for coach Ryans and see the energy he brings to the team.”

Aaron Wilson is a contributor to KPRC 2 and click2houston.com

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