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'Iron Sharpens Iron' - Texans DE Greenard Chasing Next Step

Houston Texans defensive end Jonathan Greenard has all the tools to succeed, and is working to sharpen them this summer.

Houston Texans defensive end Jonathan Greenard is fresh off of a breakout season, but he's not resting on his laurels as he chases that next step.

Greenard recently returned to camp, continuing to rehab following offseason foot surgery. The third-year edge rusher was hampered by injuries last season but still managed to lead Lovie Smith's defense in sacks with a career-high eight in just 12 starts.

However, while admitting that his breakout season was "definitely exciting," he's well aware of the fact that "nobody cares about that."

"This is a new year," Greenard said. "I could have one sack, ten sacks, don't matter what it was. I still got to go get whatever that number is."

Greenard's focus is solely on improving. And to do so, he's leaning on veterans like defensive ends Mario Addison and Jerry Hughes, as well as tackles Laremy Tunsil and Tytus Howard.

"The things that you are learning from Jerry and Rio (Addison) that you can just translate over right then and there," Greenard said. "You're going to go against the best of the best. Every single time they tell me something I just kind of look at it on film and see how Tytus and LT (Tunsil) are giving me. Me and LT and Tytus, we all talk and that's the thing about it. We all just basically giving us pointers how I approach them and how they approach me and that's always going to help both of us moving forward. Iron sharpens iron, as we all know that."

At 6-3, 263, with a 4.87 40-yard speed, Greenard is a rare athlete for his size. He can be a game changer at his best, but the key to reaching that potential is momentum and maintaining his health.

A prime example of this came during Weeks 5-8 last year when he found his stride in both areas, recording six sacks, seven quarterback hits, and two defended passes.

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To return to this form and perhaps push beyond it, Greenard is working with Howard and Tunsil to add to his arsenal.

"They tell me how they would approach a guy like me," Greenard said. "They are going to have to do certain things to make me have to sit down or make me do other moves. So I just basically have to stay in my repertoire or add to my repertoire, add to my arsenal and understand how they would block me and have a better counter. It's a steady evolving game because even after I beat them with a move, I have to readjust and make another move after that."

"I guarantee you I'm not going to play somebody better than them. At this point, if I can learn these pointers and beat the best of the best, or learn from the best of the best, I'm going to make sure do I that so that I'm successful on Sundays."

What Greenard should have working in his favor this season is a deeper group of defensive ends. Thanks to the additions of Hughes, Addison, Rasheem Green, Ogbo Okoronkwo, and rookie Thomas Booker, the pressure won't be solely on Greenard as it often seemed last year.

And when it comes to maintaining his health, Greenard said reaching 17 games this year is his "number one goal."

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