Wade Phillips‘ unit will undergo some major changes yet again in what seems a regular offseason occurrence for the Houston Texans defense. The team brought in Phillips, J.J. Watt, Johnathan Joseph and Co. in 2011 before letting Mario Williams walk and replacing him with first-round rookie Whitney Mercilus in 2012.
One smaller name that will be key to a successful transformation in 2013 is Brooks Reed, as the 2011 second-round pick who will transition from primarily outside linebacker in the 3-4 to primarily inside linebacker on early downs, before going elsewhere on clear passing downs as Houston often moves to their dime subpackage. Reed seems excited for the move and playing inside backer is no foreign concept.
“I did a lot of that last year,” Reed said heading into camp, via CSN Houston. “Many people didn’t notice it but there’s times where I just went in at middle ‘backer so it’s a possibility. It really all depends on how (the draft picks) perform the next couple months.”
Inside backer seems like it could be a better fit for Reed, who ranked middle-of-the-road the past two years in Pro Football Focus’ 3-4 outside backer rankings but whose pass-rush grades sunk much closer to the bottom. Coach is excited for the new alignment.
“Very talented and very young, that’s the biggest thing,” Texans Coach Gary Kubiak said recently during Houston minicamp, via the team website. “You’ve got young players. You talk about (OLB Bryan) Braman operating as a starter right now, Cush (ILB Brian Cushing) is healthy, (OLB) Brooks (Reed) going back to SAM (strong-side linebacker) and what happens there, those type of things.
“You’re looking at (OLB Sam) Montgomery. You’re look at (OLB) Willie (Jefferson). You’re looking at some very, very talented players, but boy they’ve never stepped on a NFL field. It’s exciting for us as coaches looking at the ability, but at the same time it better happen fast.”