When a team is 10-1 you have to give credit to everyone involved including the coaching staff. John Benton has been in charge of the Texans' offensive line for the past seven seasons and with so much shuffling going on lately on the line due to injury, he's earning his paycheck this season.
The Texans could be without RT Derek Newton Sunday because of a patella tendon injury. RG Antoine Caldwell also hasn't practiced this week due to injury. Ben Jones is a rookie who is starting at right guard and hasn't played guard since high school. There is a lot going on to say the least. At times like these you are thankful Benton is with the Texans.
"J.B. is a hell of a coach and he has been ever since I got him here, very fortunate," Gary Kubaik said of Benton. "Go back to Mike Sherman. Mike Sherman is the one that went and stole him from the Chicago airport for me. I knew John pretty good, but Mike got him for us. He’s a grinder. He’s an excellent teacher."
Jones was a four year center at Georgia before being drafted by the Texans in the fourth round this past year. Jones made his first start at guard in Week 7 vs Baltimore. When you see a rookie make those kinds of leaps it's because of the coaching they are getting at their respective position.
"When you see young players jump in and play that reflects how well a coach teaches in my opinion that he can have those guys ready to come in and replace people," Kubiak said. "John’s reputation in this business is excellent. It should be.”
"He’s a master at the offensive line scheme and the zone scheme," said center Chris Myers. "He’s taken it under his wing with all of these young guys now on the offensive line to be able to coach them up a lot more. Obviously, we have some veterans in the room and we do what we can, but he’s taken it upon himself to give that extra little push. He’s doing a great job with everybody.”
The Texans have the seventh-lowest sack percentage in the NFL over the last six years. LT Duane Brown has given up one sack this season and gave up just two last season. Brown might be the best left tackle in football right now. Benton has done so much for Brown and the rest of the offensive line it's hard to realize that he almost didn't make it to Houston.
"We looked around and I knew John, but actually Sherm (Mike Sherman) had come to me and said I’ve heard about a guy," Kubiak said. "He brought up John’s name. I said I know him very well, so between Sherm running back and forth to Green Bay to Houston trying to move his family, he met John in the Chicago airport. I think they did about a couple hour interview and we hired him from there. That’s a long time ago, but that was a good hire.”
The hire turned out to be a great one. And apparently the NFL knows because they have been trying to lure Benton out of Houston for some time now.
“Yeah, a lot of people, he’s not getting out of here hopefully.”