The offense last year may have been one of the key reasons the Texans did not won more then two games. The defense had their fair share of struggles at times as well. Injuries depleted their key core and the run defense was not as strong as it has been in years past; a change in coaching may re-energize a defense that ranked as one of the best a year before. Wade Philips out, Romeo Crennel in as the new defensive coordinator under Bill O’Brien’s new regime in Houston. The offensive depth chart predictions were written up yesterday, and now its time to cover what new additions fans may see in the Texans hopeful new and improved defense.
Cornerback is a position that will more then likely be locked down by Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson on each side. Behind the duo it is almost complete toss up of who will get time in the nickel and dime packages. A sleeper to keep an eye on is rookie Marcus Williams out of North Dakota State. The kid made nothing but play after play in college, and could be a part of the battle in the unproven depth at corner.
Safety was a position the Texans decided to address quickly in free agency. With D.J. Swearinger showing a lot of promise as a second round pick, Houston needed to find his counterpart for the future. The Ed Reed project did not turn out as hoped, so Houston hopes the signing of Chris Clemons will fill the need. Clemons may lack the ball skills many look for as a safety, but the six year veteran can tackle; and knows how to lay the lumber to receivers when the opportunity presents itself. “Mr. Irrelevant” Lonnie Ballentine does have the tools and length to make this ball club, whether or not he does remains to be seen.
Linebacker positioning may be one of the more intriguing aspects to the Texans defense to follow. With the newly drafted Jadaveon Clowney in the mix; Brooks Reed will be joining Brian Cushing in the middle of the starting core. Packages will obviously change due to the down and distance, Clowney will line up at end for pass rushing situations, and will be used in a variety of blitz packages. Whitney Mercilus will also be a part of the Texans 3-4 base defense. An interesting prospect to keep an eye on is Max Bullough out of Michigan State. With depth players Joe Mays and Darryl Sharpton moving on in free agency, the rookie Bullough has a great opportunity to work his way onto the roster.
Defensive Line until further notice, will be led by none other then the man himself, J.J. Watt. The other two positions along the three man front are a question mark going into camp. Louis Nix can almost certainly be penciled in as a day one starter at nose tackle for Houston. The rookie will have to get through a grueling training camp, and lose some bad weight in order for the coaches to take him seriously. Clowney will be joining the defensive line on pass situations, during first and second down; the Texans will need to figure out who will fill that hole. Jared Crick could seize the opportunity, or possibly sixth round pick Jeoffrey Pagan, could steal the spot his first year as a pro.
With the offensive side of the ball already completed and the defense being wrapped up, make sure to check in on the Guardian Liberty Voice for more Houston coverage. Training camp is not far away and position battles are to be had, make sure to stay tuned.
Commentary by Justin Huffman
Guardian Liberty Voice Writer covering the Houston Texans