Texans: Christian Kirksey needs to have a repeat season

Mandatory Credit: George Walker IV-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: George Walker IV-USA TODAY Sports /

Houston Texans linebacker Christian Kirksey had a solid ’21 season.

The 2021 season for Christian Kirksey is one he’ll always look back at with positive memories from an individual aspect — or at least he should — because it was one of his best overall season since joining the NFL in 2014.

The former third-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in ’14 joined the Texans in 2021, and he was a big part – probably the best part — of the ’21 defense in Houston.

In ’21, Kirksey finished with 13 games played (12 starts), and he had the following totals: 93 total tackles, 55 solo tackles, six tackles for loss, two QB hits, one interception, eight passes defensed and two fumble recoveries.

It was the first season that Kirksey has 90 or more tackles since 2017, and it was the first season he had at least six tackles for loss since the ’17 season as well.

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Kirksey added some leadership and accountability to the Houston defense in ’21, and that was evident by not only fans of the team, but HoustonTexans.com Texans Analyst John Harris wrote the following about Kirksey in a recent linebackers article:

"“There was no more calming influence and more effective leader on the 2021 defense than Kirksey. I told him that I wished he had been in Houston, for those reasons, a lot earlier in his career …”"

That’s high praise for a player, and it is tough to not agree with what Harris wrote and said about Kirksey.

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Twice last season Kirksey had two tackles for loss in a game, and twice he had one QB hit in a game. On five occasions in ’21 Kirksey had at least five solo tackles, including once where he finished with seven solo tackles in a Week 3 games against the Carolina Panthers, which was also a 24-9 loss by Houston.

Getting to play a second consecutive year in Lovie Smith’s Tampa 2 defensive scheme should be beneficial to Kirksey and the rest of the Texans who are returning to the defense from last season.

Sure, the unit has made some changes and there were miscues by many from the ’21 team, but a whole new year in this defense and the difference is sure to show in improved play.

Being in a stable situation with the Texans should be beneficial for Kirksey as Smith — even being promoted to head coach — will still be in charge of the defense, and that means Kirksey can help the new players on the defense become more in-tune with what the defense wants to accomplish.

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The ’22 Texans defense has to be better than what they were a season ago. Re-signing Kirksey for the season will be a big help, and it was a smart decision made by the general manager to keep one of the leaders of the defense on the roster.