Maliek Collins may have turned 27 years old on April 8, but the former Dallas Cowboys 2016 third-round pick has gotten younger.
The Houston Texans added defensive ends Mario Addison and Jerry Hughes after the draft, and the addition of the 34-year-old and 33-year-old have made Collins just another one of the guys in the defensive line room.
“Those two guys, they are so accomplished, and doing what they done did; the sack totals they done had in their career,” Collins told reporters after organized team activities on June 7 at Houston Methodist Training Center. “I’m just striving to be — to get those type of numbers and striving to be around for 12 and 13 years.”
Addison has tallied 67.0 career sacks through 11 seasons while Jerry Hughes has gathered 58.0. Collins has just 17.0, although he plays inside as a three technique defensive tackle as opposed to on the edge as his older teammates.
What enthuses Collins about his second year with the Texans is familiarity with coach Lovie Smith’s Tampa 2 scheme, which is very similar to what Collins’ original draft team ran from 2016-19 under then-defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, who was Smith’s defensive coordinator with the Chicago Bears from 2010-12. The Texans have added a new blend with defensive line coach Jacques Cesaire, who was the Buffalo Bills’ assistant defensive line coach and worked with Addison and Hughes.
“He know what it takes, every day,” said Collins. “I mean, it’s nothing like having a coach that’s played before, and especially that’s played your position. I mean, I think it’s huge.”
While Addison and Hughes are the old guys in the defensive line room, Collins still takes the opportunity to impart wisdom and advice upon third-year defensive tackle Ross Blacklock and second-year defensive tackle Roy Lopez. Collins is buoyed by their development over the offseason.
Said Collins: “I love it. I just try to pay attention to what we’re doing up front. As long as we are doing our job up front, putting pressure on quarterbacks, getting the quarterback and trampling the run on the way to the quarterback, we just try to make their job as simple as it has to be.”