Texans coach DeMeco Ryans is bringing the San Francisco defense to Houston. To help with the transition, he brought a San Francisco defensive player with him.
Safety Jimmie Ward opted as a free agent not to stay with the 49ers but to join the Texans.
Meeting with reporters on Thursday, Ward addressed what will be asked of him in the Houston lineup.
“To be honest, to be an extra coach,” Ward said. “Obviously, I know this defense. I’m not perfect. Sometimes, I’m pretty sure I make mistakes. Just try to bring the younger guys along because I’ve been through a lot going on my tenth year in this league. Really just try to explain to them my experience and tell them in this defense that you’ve got to work as a string. If somebody is off on this defense, we can give up an explosive [play].”
The defense relies on having an explosive pass rush.
“In this defense you don’t have to force plays,” Ward said. “Like I said earlier, this defense is ran through the defensive front. This is going to be an attacking D-line. All you have to do is be in your spot and plays will come to you.”
Ryans apparently targeted Ward as a player the coach wanted to come with him to his next stop. Ward admitted that they discussed it briefly, while they both were still in San Francisco.
“We chatted about it a little bit,” Ward said. “We didn’t do too much talking about it when we were in San Francisco. He told me, I’d like you to play for me. That’s kind of where we cut that conversation off.”
The conversation now is about making the Texans as successful as the 49ers have been. But Ward applied an important caveat to that goal.
“To be honest, it’s just the defense,” Ward said. “We’ve got to find our own culture, create our own identity. We’re not San Francisco, we’re Houston. That’s who we’re going to be.”
What they’re going to be is to be determined. Given how they’ve been in recent years, it feels like they’re about to be a lot better.