The Houston Texans got down to the basics on the first day of training camp Friday at Houston Methodist Training Center.
The Texans will have two days of “ramp up” before taking a break Sunday. On Monday, the Texans will kickoff the first day of August with their first week of padded practices, which will give the coaches a true evaluation of where the offensive and defensive lines are at.
According to coach Lovie Smith, the Texans, who play a four-man front in their Tampa 2 scheme, will have at least linemen in uniform on game days.
“We will at least dress, at a minimum eight linemen,” Smith told reporters. “They will all play. We are going to have a starter but everybody, fresh guys, playing hard. The veteran guys on the line that you talked about, yes. Jerry Hughes, Mario Addison, I know Malik Collins has played a little bit.”
Hughes and Addison, both of whom come over from the Buffalo Bills, where defensive line coach Jacques Cesaire worked as an assistant defensive line coach, provide veteran leadership and also experience in the rotation. Houston brought back Collins at 3-technique defensive tackle, one of the significant roles in the Tampa 2.
The one defensive lineman who will have the spotlight on him throughout the season is third-year defensive end Jonathan Greenard. The former 2020 third-round pick from Florida had 8.0 sacks for the Texans through 12 games in 2021. Greenard and the Texans will be eligible to discuss a possible contract extension after the 2022 season, and Greenard can put himself in great negotiating position coming off a double-digit sack season.
“This is a big year for Jonathan Greenard, eight sacks whatever year, part-time, he is healthy now,” said Smith. “In order for us to have success, I talk about playing better defense, it starts with our defensive line.”
If the Texans are able to succeed with the defensive line, the results should resound throughout the rest of the team.