Victorian hopes stay in Houston lasts

Victorian hopes stay in Houston lasts
June 19, 2014, 11:30 am
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(Pat Lovell - USA Today Sports Images)

For a player who has seen just 12 games in the NFL, Houston Texans cornerback Josh Victorian has seen a lot of places in his brief three-year NFL career.

Houston is the fifth stop for the 25-year old defensive back and after seeing his most extensive playing time, he's hopeful his stay in Houston is the longest one yet. Victorian has also yet to start a season with the same team he finished the season before with.

"I love the city of Houston, love the coaching staff, love the guys in the locker room. This is a great place to be," Victorian said. "You always want to go somewhere and be steady. Just try to come in everyday and work with these guys and try to get better."

Victorian went undrafted in 2011 following his four-year career at Louisiana Tech, but was signed by Baltimore during the summer at the start of training camp. Despite hauling in one interception during the preseason, the Ravens released him in their final round of cuts prior to the 2011 regular season.

Then he went a seemingly never-ending series of transactions, albeit all with one team during that season. The New England Patriots signed and released Victorian from their practice squad five times between September and November that season, all without a trip to the active roster as he was still looking for his first NFL game action.

The idea that under first-year head coach Bill O'Brien, who spent time coaching under Bill Belichick in New England what is going on here in Houston is in some ways a mirror-image of the "Patriots Way" is not lost on Victorian, although he doesn't think the similarities run too deep, not to mention he had just a little taste of the Patriots.

"It was a different situation out there (in New England). It was my rookie year, I didn't really know much," Victorian said. "Coach OB is a great coach, he's instilling great things in the whole team, so I fell like when it comes to that there are similarities, but other than that he's a great coach and I'm ready to work for him."

He was released from the Patriots practice squad late in the season, and was signed by the Saints soon after the season ended in January. But the stay with the hometown team for the kid from Metaire, Louisiana would be a short one, just four months, not even getting to training camp with New Orleans.

He joined the Steelers next, again nearly making the team, but instead getting signed to the practice squad, then finally made his NFL debut with Pittsburgh, playing the final four games of the 2012 season, even starting once.

His time with the Steelers though would end similarly, as Victorian was again released in the final round of cuts after the 2013 preseason with Pittsburgh. Finally he came to the Texans, again with a spot on a practice squad a few weeks into the season. Although this time, he spent just two weeks there and then was signed to the Texans active roster and he played in the final eight games of the season.

Victorian saw extensive action on the Texans special teams, getting in on five tackles in the second half of the season and his eyes lit up when the conversation turned to his work with the special teams unit.

"Special teams is a big thing in this league and coach O'Brien harps on it," Victorian said. "It could be a great thing for me. Special teams is my itch so far to stay in this league. So I feel like I have to get better at that.

"Every guy has a different situation. Some guys come in and they know they are going to play corner or they know they are going to play receiver, so they go after that. As you get deeper on the depth chart, everybody isn't going to be a starting corner in this league, so you have to do what you can do for the team."

"(When I was a rookie in 2011) I couldn't really do too many things then. Now I feel like I'm more versatile. I'm very good on special teams now."

There's that word again for the Texans, versatility. Coach O'Brien and his players are wearing that term out this offseason and for Victorian, he knows that applies to the cornerback position, too.

"They (the coaches) harp on the more you can do, and the more you can play corner, play inside, play outside, I mean it helps your stock," he said. "I think that is all you're trying to do around here. I've been with some good groups. These guys, from J-Jo to K-Jack, to Brandon Harris, Elbert Mack, I mean everybody can play any position, so I had no choice but to learn it. I wanted to be like those guys and keep learning from them."

The grounded Victorian is ready to move forward and do all he can to make his stay in Houston, a place he called a home away from home, as long a stay as possible.

"Last year was last year, this year there's a whole different coaching staff and a lot of different guys," he said. "So we're just trying to come together and compete."