DeMeco Ryans on Texans' expectations: 'Talk doesn't win games'

April 15, 2024, 3:59 PM

HOUSTON -- Coach DeMeco Ryans made it clear he isn't paying attention to the hype the Houston Texans are receiving.

"We don't care about expectations," Ryans said Monday. "Talk doesn't win games. We have to go out and play good football when the time comes."

The Texans spent $178.5 million this offseason in guaranteed money, according to Roster Management System, the fourth most in the NFL.

That includes a reworked contract for newly acquired All-Pro wide receiver Stefon Diggs. The Texans sent a 2025 second-round pick (via the Minnesota Vikings) to the Buffalo Bills for Diggs and voided the final three years of his deal before increasing his base salary to $22.52 million guaranteed. He's now set to become a free agent in 2025.

"The guy's been an All-Pro player, been a Pro Bowl player, over 1,000 yards for multiple seasons," Ryans said. "So, we're excited about adding Diggs to our team."

The Diggs trade capped the Texans' aggressive spending on both sides of the ball. They signed defensive end Danielle Hunter, coming off a career-high 16.5 sacks, to a two-year, $49 million deal. They added former Tennessee Titans linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair, coming off a career-high 163 tackles, to a three-year, $34 million contract. They traded for former Bengals running back Joe Mixon before giving the 2021 Pro Bowler a three-year, $27 million contract extension.

Those expensive offseason moves have generated buzz for the Texans, but Ryans won't let the team change its approach.

"We're always hunting. That doesn't change for us," Ryans said. "Expectations on the outside, whatever that may be, it doesn't change who we are. The expectation from the outside doesn't permeate inside our building."

The Texans spent to build on Ryans and quarterback C.J. Stroud's initial season, when they won the AFC South and a playoff game for the first time since 2019.

Stroud was vital for the team's success as he earned Offensive Rookie of the Year and was a Pro Bowler. He led the NFL in passing yards per game (274) and became the first rookie to rank first in touchdown-interception ratio (23-5) since the merger.

"I'm very excited," Stroud said. "I think we have a lot of potential, have a ton of guys who have played a lot of meaningful ball. A lot of guys who can do different things with the ball. With all the expectation, the outside noise, the time now is to focus. Right now it's time to build the foundation and build the chemistry."

Stroud's new receiving trio features Nico Collins, Tank Dell and Diggs. In the 2023 season, Collins ranked eighth in receiving yards (1,297) and had eight touchdowns. Dell was on pace for 1,205 receiving yards before suffering a season-ending leg injury in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos in Week 13. Dell finished with the 709 yards.

Ryans provided an update on Dell's recovery and said he is participating in Phase One of the Texans' offseason program.

"I'm excited to have Tank back," Ryans said. "That was a devastating loss for us last year, losing him. He's such a dynamic player for us, such an inspiration for myself, a lot of our team. So, I'm excited to see Tank back working with our guys, and excited to see him make that same jump I talked about from year one to year two.