New Texans safety Tyrann Mathieu is fitting right in

Honey Badger brings attitude to Houston's secondary

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – Houston Texans safety Tyrann Mathieu is feeling right at home with his new team.

After five seasons with the Arizona Cardinals he was released in March. Three days later, he signed a one-year contract with Texans, which needed some help when it comes to stopping the deep ball.

Mathieu is already feeling the love from the Texans.

“I’ve been real fortunate,” Mathieu said. “I’ve had a lot of guys on the team really support me, really wrap their arms around me and really embrace me as a leader on this team, and I’ve just gotten here. For me, that’s a big pat on the back. Obviously, I have a long way to go, but I just want to show these guys every day that I’m going to show up and be ready to work.”

Mathieu has a magnetic personality and an aggressive, hard-hitting style of play, which his new teammates love. He may be one of the newest Texans, but he’s already established himself as a team leader.

“You kind of just fall in line,” he said. “For me, I mentioned it earlier in camp, it’s just about following the right guys, trying to have the right mindset and, obviously, going about things the right way. For me, obviously, I had some great leaders in front of me in Arizona, and even when I got here, there were already some great leaders already established on this team. So, for me, I didn’t have to do too much.”

Houston’s passing defense allowed 237 yards per game last season, ranking 24 out of 32 teams. They also allowed 30 touchdown passes, tied for second most. Those numbers must improve, which is why the Texans added Mathieu. So far, head coach Bill O’Brien likes his revamped last line of defense.

“They communicate well. We’ve got some good vets back there. I think the addition of Tyrann Mathieu has been really good. I think we’ve got a good, young safety in Justin Reid. Then you’ve got J-Jo (Johnathan Joseph), who’s been around for a while and (is) a really smart player," O’Brien said Saturday. "We added Aaron Colvin. Kevin Johnson, I think, is having a solid training camp. Kareem (Jackson) back there, moving him to safety ,but he’s doing different things for us. You’ve got (Kurtis) Drummond and Corey Moore -- it’s very competitive – Dee Virgin. Very competitive group of guys. They get along real well. They communicate on the field real well and they compete real well.”

On the field, Mathieu has a mean streak, earning him the nickname “Honey Badger” during his time at Louisiana State University. He’s bringing a new attitude and swagger to the secondary and feels the unit is meshing well.

“We’re constantly growing,” Mathieu said. “Going into the second week, we’ve constantly just (been) working on that chemistry, working on that communication, trying to get a feel for how guys play certain techniques. We still have some time to go until things get real serious. But I like where we are right now, and I like where we’re going.”

About the Author:

Larry Ramirez joined the KSAT 12 sports team in October 2004.