• Brian L. Barefield

CHANGE Veteran OL Whitney Mercilus is looking forward to playing under a new defensive signal caller

Mercilus (59) joins in the fun at Texans Training Camp. Photo Credit/Houston Texans

Change is something that a lot of individuals can’t accept. Whether it be a cubicle switch in the office or furniture rearrangement at home. Some people are not good with dealing with change.

That is not the case for Houston Texans outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus. The nine-year veteran will have a new play-caller this year on defense in Anthony Weaver who was promoted to defensive coordinator replacing longtime defensive guru and Associate Head Coach Romeo Crennel.

As far as the differences, what Romeo has ran as far as alignments and stuff like that, it’s still similar in regards to Weave,” said Mercilus. “Just a few caveats as far as the changing up some of the pressures and stuff like that. They have two different philosophies as far as that goes. Those are the differences we see at practice. We love it as an entirety, allowing us to use our different skillsets across the board.”

The former Associated Press Second Team All-Pro in 2016 is looking to have another breakout season under Weaver. He credits the versatility of the entire defense coming into the season as a reason he feels that the defense will be amongst some of the leagues best.

“The way he’s (Anthony Weaver) constructed the defense, he has added some really great packages to this defense, allowing everybody to utilize their abilities,” said Mercilus who has the second most postseason sacks in the NFL since 2015. “Not just me or J.J. but you’ve got Brennan Scarlett, you’ve got Jacob Martin and also Jonathan Greenard.”

COVID-19 hindered a lot of offseason workouts for teams around the NFL including the Texans. For a workaholic like Mercilus who spends the majority of his time trying to hone his skills at his craft. It was a difficult maintaining his work ethic while not being able to be at NRG. But as most of his teammates and coaching staff will tell you. He found a way.

Honestly throughout the pandemic and whatnot just staying at home and being able to go through the moves,” Mercilus responded when asked about maintaining his routine. “Walk through them, even on air. Walk through the house, doing something like that. Also, working out with a personal trainer, just doing some hand combat things. That’s about it.”

Mercilus ranks third in franchise history with 50 sacks, but he believes that number will increase once the Texans take the field this year under Weaver and the younger guys who have brought a lot of energy to this year’s training camp.

“It’s awesome. It’s the type of defense we strive for,” he said. “Guys get to be in so many different spots. It’s not even as if somebody can just be in one spot and just play that spot entirely. Somebody else can be replaced, whether you come off the edge or something like that. We’ve had edge blitzes before in the past before and stuff like that, but like I said earlier, we’ve got a lot of versatility, guys with a whole bunch of different skillsets. Man, everybody is loving it.”

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