Texans’ Justin Britt absent Wednesday for ‘personal reasons’

Houston Texans offensive lineman Justin Britt (68) during pregame warmups before an NFL preseason game against the New Orleans Saints on Saturday, August 13, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Matt Patterson) (Matt Patterson, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

HOUSTON – One day after center Justin Britt was critical of his play during the Texans’ season-opening tie against the Indianapolis Colts, the veteran offensive lineman was absent from practice and the training facility Wednesday for “personal reasons.”

Texans coach Lovie Smith said that Britt is expected to play in a Sunday road game against the Denver Broncos.

“Justin Britt missed today for personal reasons,” Smith said.

Should Britt be unavailable, Scott Quessenberry would step in for him. They also have left guard Justin McCray, who has played center previously, and practice squad center Jimmy Morrissey.

Britt, 31, was accountable for his role in some communication issues against the Colts on Sunday, including three sacks allowed, a false start committed by him, and a false start by offensive tackle Tytus Howard with a late snap. 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.

The Texans signed Britt to a two-year, $9 million extension during the offseason.

“If there is a communication error, it starts with me being the voice of the o-line,” Britt said 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 (Howard) false started, and again, that shouldn’t have happened. Just things like that. Just do better next time.”

Britt didn’t play in any preseason games as a precautionary measure after he dealt with a knee injury last season.

He wasn’t pleased with his performance as he expects a high personal standard.

“I think it just comes down to details, fundamentals, technique,” Britt said. “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. I can’t speak for everyone. I’m ready to get back to work and to put something better on film and make sure we add something to the win column this week.”

This marked the Texans’ first regular-season game under new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton.

“I feel like for me personally, I made a couple of critical errors at some times,” Britt said. “I’m going to put more weight on my shoulders, and maybe there needs to be. I hold myself to a standard. I like Pep’s offense, I like our approach and I like the way the game was called.

“We, us, me can execute more and definitely put more points on the board. Week 1 we didn’t lose. There are more games we get to go out there. The story doesn’t change. Go out there have a good week of preparation, tune into the playbook and the game plan and trust if we can go out there and execute.”

The Texans struggled to run the football with Burkhead and rookie Dameon Pierce’s longest runs just eight yards apiece.

They had 40 yards and 33 yards, respectively. The Texans’ heavy formations with extra tight ends and fullback Troy Hairston were ineffective.

“We feel like we can run in any scenario,” Britt said. “At the end of the day whatever play call is called, we try to execute it. However we get to the win, we get there. We have goals of hitting a certain amount of rushing yards or yards per rush. That matters to us. So whenever we don’t hit those, we’ll evaluate and see what we need to do better.”

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

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