Texans: Jerry Hughes brings solid veteran leadership to d-line

Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports /

The Houston Texans having Jerry Hughes on the roster makes a lot of sense.

When the Houston Texans added veteran defensive end Jerry Hughes to the roster last month, it might have flown under the radar, but it shouldn’t have, as the defensive end will fit in nicely with the rotation on the defensive line in 2022.

Hughes isn’t a long-term solution for the defensive end spot as this is year 13 for him, but the wealth of knowledge he brings to the defensive line can only help make the younger players on the roster that much better.

Even Texans head coach Lovie Smith, who has coached many great players in his NFL coaching career, had this to say — via HoustonTexans.com — about having Hughes on the roster right now when asked about the longtime NFL defensive lineman and pass rusher:

"“Well, a veteran rusher but a veteran player that’s done it the right way all his career. I remember when he came out of college at TCU, and he’s played at a high level. To play at a high level, you have to take care of your body. You have to be a pro. These are all voluntary days and he’s out here leading. You can’t tell that he’s not a rookie trying to make his first team, and we need that in our program, veteran leadership like that.”"

This is so exciting to hear about because if a long-tenured player like Hughes is at the voluntary practices and camps, then that has to show the younger players what is expected, especially players on a team that is still rebuilding their roster into a contender.

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Texans: Hughes has 12 seasons’ worth of NFL experience

Hughes has played 12 previous seasons in the NFL, with his first three seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, followed with the past nine seasons as a member of the Buffalo Bills. It is safe to say Hughes not only knows what to expect in the AFC South in 2022, but he’s spent his entire career playing for teams in the AFC.

The defensive end finished with two sacks in ’21 as he played in 52 percent of the Bills’ defensive plays in ’21. Also last season, Hughes had 26 pressures, with four QB knockdowns and 19 hurries on the quarterback.

With other defensive ends on the roster, including Ogbo Okoronkwo, Jonathan Greenard, Rasheem Green, Jordan Jenkins, Mario Addison, Derek Rivers, Troy Hairston, and Demone Harris, the addition of Hughes stands out as a solid decision if he’s able to stay on the field and put pressure on the quarterback at nearly 34 years old.

Time will tell how the Texans will use Hughes in their defensive end rotations throughout camp and the regular season. Having a player who can still pressure the quarterback, add a few sacks and hopefully teach the younger defensive ends a few tips and tricks, this could be the best “under-the-radar” signing for Houston this entire 2022 offseason.

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What are your thoughts on Hughes and what he can bring to the Houston Texans’ defense in ’22?