One player for the Houston Texans who is taking the next step forward in his NFL career this preseason is defensive lineman Charles Omenihu, and for Texans fans this is maybe the most exciting news in quite sometime.
When the Texans defeated the Dallas Cowboys in the second preseason game last Saturday night it was Omenihu who earned a game ball from his Texans coaches following a stellar night. That game he finished with a fumble recovery, three solo tackles, two tackles for loss, two sacks, and two QB hits.
Simply put for the edge rusher Omenihu, if that type of play continues into the regular season he’ll be able to name his own price when his next contract comes up following the 2022 season which would be the conclusion of his rookie deal.
Omenihu has a chance to take over the main edge rusher spot vacated by future Hall of Fame selection J.J. Watt after he left this offseason to join the Arizona Cardinals following the Texans granting Watt his release. In ’20 Omenihu played in 15 games and he totaled 17 tackles, with 11 of those being solo. He also had four sacks and two passes defensed. His rookie season of ’19 collected three sacks so it is no secret Omenihu has a high ceiling to be a top-tier player.
Houston Texans: Coach David Culley gives thoughts on Charles Omenihu
Houston Texans head coach David Culley knows Omenihu has improved this offseason too. In a press conference on Tuesday the head coach spoke about Omenihu, and if he can continue to play like he did against the Cowboys:
"“Well, that was the first half. That’s what we expect from him. That’s what we expect from that same group that they’re playing there. I think one of the reasons you’re starting to see the guys now with their level of playing the way we feel like they’re capable of playing – I go back to competition. Competition makes people better.”"
The next question Culley was asked about how Omenihu can play on the inside and the outside, as the word “versatility” was mentioned by the Texans head coach:
"“It shows his versatility. Obviously with what we are doing on defense, with him being able to go inside and go outside helps us. And probably with his versatility, that allows us to be able to do more things.”"
Being in a new defense with that being the Tampa 2 defense compared to the 3-4 defense under Romeo Crennel his first two seasons will make a big difference. Also with Omenihu he has a chance to have more of an impact this year with Watt no longer being the top player on the defensive line. So far in the preseason the energy of the Texans defense seems to be higher than it was last season.
If there is one player on the Texans defense who can have a breakout season it is Omenihu. That is something many have been waiting to see from him, so with more time in Lovie Smith’s defensive system, Omenihu will only improve. He can be very valuable as a pass rusher off the edge, but if he plays inside, his play there will cause havoc too.
The AFC South and the rest of the NFL better beware of Omenihu this season because he’s going to be a big part of the Houston Texans defense, and will be a big part of the team working to improve from where this team was last season. Year three for Omenihu could be his best season yet.