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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Mark Lane

DE Jerry Hughes says Texans rookies are vocal, asking questions

Being the new person at a job can be as awkward as a new character being written into season five of a TV series, and it is no different for NFL rookies.

Typically youngsters avoid asking questions during meetings, hoping to figure out the problems they couldn’t grasp in a more familiar environment.

According to defensive end Jerry Hughes, the Houston Texans have rookies on defense who aren’t afraid to be vocal in the classroom.

Defensive ends Will Anderson, Dylan Horton, and linebacker Henry To’oTo’o are leading the charge and ask questions on concepts they don’t quite understand or need further clarification.

“Henry, Will, Dylan, those guys are vocal, they’re asking questions,” Hughes told reporters Tuesday after mandatory minicamp. “We’re talking about technique throughout practice. It’s not where we’re just wasting time. The minute we walk in this building, it’s football on.”

At 34 years old, Hughes keeps being the older veteran wherever he goes. As the former TCU product enters his second season with Houston, Hughes appreciates the spark from the rookies.

“I think that’s what I love to see,” said Hughes. “You love that you got a young group of guys that are passionate about this game, who want to take their game to the next level. They’re constantly on it day in, day out.”

Hughes accepts that the rookies are atypical when it comes to their desire to learn.

Said Hughes: “Normally when you get around a bunch of people and you’re kind of new into that environment, you kind of tend to be more standoffish, kind of want to shrink down in the chair versus being a little bit more boastful, willing to ask questions, willing to get it repeated so you can make sure you understand it. Because you’d be surprised, there’s a lot more other people who need that understanding as well. When you have young guys doing that, that’s just a great mentality that you love to have.”

Coaches can instill so much, and veterans can carry the torch so long. Ultimately a team can only cross the chasm into prosperity with younger players buying in.

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