ROLE PLAY

This standout on special teams could be poised for a bigger role on defense for Texans

Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Houston Texans safety AJ Moore was unlikely to even make it this far in the NFL. As an undrafted player out of Ole Miss in 2018, the odds were against Moore even making Houston's roster a few years back. Moore has mostly made his impact in the league as one of the best special team players on the Houston roster. Now entering his third season in the NFL, indications from training camp this summer seem to indicate that Moore might have a much bigger role in Houston's defense.

"AJ plays with a lot of energy," Head Coach and General Manager Bill O'Brien said. "He does whatever you ask him to do. He puts the team first. He's definitely DTS. He's dependable, he's tough, he's smart. He has a really good role on our football team. He's improved on defense. He's improved on special teams. He's a fun guy to coach."

Moore has played 671 snaps on special teams in his first two seasons in the league and only 20 total on defense, all in 2019.

"With getting limited snaps, I've been able to -- when I'm on the sideline, I'm just able to learn," Moore said. "I can still get a feel for the game just looking, but I've been able to grow in the playbook and continue to watch the speed of the game, and so now when I'm in there I can execute at a high level."

Moore has been singled out all summer by his teammates for his drastic improvements in his overall game including strong praise from quarterback Deshaun Watson.

"His confidence, he's a complete player. He's been able to play so many different roles and do so many different things, and he comes each and every day and competed," Watson said. "Regardless if he makes a play or [doesn't] make a play, he's always getting up with great positive energy, positive attitude, and always competing regardless of what the situation is or how he's feeling that day."

Moore has been working towards an opportunity to play more on defense and the Texans hope that Moore's strong play in training camp translates to gamedays starting next Thursday in Kansas City against Patrick Mahomes and the defending champs.

"This is going on my third year now, and of course, I made my role on special teams first, but I've just been trying to continue to get better and better at safety, and that's what I've done," Moore said. "I just continued to work hard and learn and to just grow to get better. That's just been my main focus. I've learned a lot over the years, and I've been able to make a couple of plays for the team, and that's what I'm here for. That's what I want to do."

Jake Asman is a national host on SportsMap Radio. You can listen to The Jake Asman Show weekdays from 8 AM - 10 AM Central.

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