Matt Burke's defense is a developing group. Nick Caserio and his front office spent valuable draft capital to ensure success for the immediate future. Will Anderson Jr. was one of two first-round selections. He's helped the Houston Texans progress well midway through the year. Assistance from his peers will turn DeMeco Ryans' unit into a lethal playoff contender.
Jonathan Greenard is becoming a household name for Texans fans. He's earned more reps for his performance and high praise from future Hall of Famers.
Houston Texans: Matt Burke's defense has room for improvement
DeMeco Ryans is known for leading stout endzone warriors. A span of successful seasons as the 49ers defensive coordinator proved he was capable of engineering excellence. He understood the potential challenges of Nick Caserio's offer to become Houston's newest Head Coach. The former Texans' linebacker welcomed the challenge with open arms and is excelling in his rookie year. He's focused on molding his rookie quarter and re-establishing a dominant defensive unit.
Limiting big plays is important for NFL defenses. It causes chaos for opposing offensive coordinators eager to add points to the scoreboard. A new philosophy is helping the Texans clean up their reputation. They rank sixth in pass coverage (81.5) but are working on improving other areas. Pass rush (66.8) and run defense (54.7) are weaknesses for Burke's unit. They are searching for remedies to increase production before it's too late.
Houston Texans: Jonathan Greenard receives praise from J.J Watt
A loss to the Carolina Panthers exposed blemishes in Houston's scheme. Bobby Slowik's offense scored one touchdown against Ejiro Evero's unproven defense. It put Matt Burke's group in unfavorable situations. It resulted in multiple Eddy Pineiro field goals (3). In the moment, the scores were miniscule but they cost the Texans in the end.
There were glimpses of greatness despite the loss Sunday afternoon. Jonathan Greenard led Burke's group in sacks (3) and earned the second-highest defensive grade (89.6). He played 44 snaps and made an impact at the line of scrimmage. Greenard's display caught the attention of a former Houston Texan and future Hall of Famer.
J.J. Watt took a few minutes to praise Houston's right end on the Pat McAffe show Monday morning. "Jonathan Greenard is a great guy and continues to get better" Watt stated. "He had a great day in Carolina, and he has been playing really good football." A shout-out from a Texans legend will give the fourth-year rusher confidence this season. He must find ways to sack Baker Mayfield to help Houston capture a victory in Week 9.