It's early July, the slowest period of the NFL offseason before things officially ramp up and optimism is tested.
Right now, Houston is basking in the glow of a new era. The Texans have a new coach, new quarterback and handful of new faces elsewhere.
The combined changes have one key veteran feeling invigorated.
"It's a whole new vibe, man," tackle Laremy Tunsil said Friday during an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show. "(Coach) DeMeco (Ryans) came in with that energy he brought from San Fran and just changed the whole vibe around the building, and that's something that we needed, especially since these last past three years we've been in a rut. So DeMeco comes in the building, he brought some new coaches, we've got some new players. Man, it's just a whole new vibe that's in that building. It feels great to be there."
Ryans is the fourth full-time head coach in four years in Houston, where the Texans have existed in a directionless state since Bill O'Brien's football empire crumbled in 2020. Both David Culley and Lovie Smith manned an unenviable throne before each were dismissed after one season, but the Texans' latest hire inspires hope and legitimate belief he'll last more than one season.
Ideally, he's there for years to come -- and his rookie quarterback rides alongside him the whole way. So far, so good for C.J. Stroud, according to Tunsil.
"He handles himself well. He came in the building with these unbelievable leadership skills, and he's killing it, man," Tunsil said of Stroud. "How I describe C.J.: dawg. He's a straight dawg. He comes in there ready to work, he handles the huddle perfectly and he goes out there and balls, man. You've got to appreciate that, especially in a young quarterback like C.J."
Stroud has high-level collegiate football experience from his days at Ohio State, where the Buckeyes nearly earned a berth in the national title game before falling to eventual champion Georgia in heartbreaking fashion. Stroud put together an incredible performance in that game, producing tape that convinced many scouts he could be a franchise quarterback in the NFL.
Houston ended up taking him second overall, pairing coach and quarterback and officially resetting the clock for the franchise. And as Tunsil said, Stroud's experience at Ohio State is certainly helping him transition to the pro game.
Tunsil, meanwhile, has been in this game for some time now. He's entering his eighth season and recently received a new contract, returning him to the top of the salary rankings for left tackles at $25 million per year.
He's ready to lead -- and he hopes the Texans will follow.
"I'm like the O.G. in the building now, like the mentor. Everybody looks at me for answers," Tunsil said. " I had some great mentors coming in the league. I had Branden Albert, I had Mike Pouncey, I had some good guys. So I'm ready to step into this role."