Despite what the results may suggest, there have been some individual bright spots for the 2-9 Houston Texans this season. And one player who stood out in Sunday's 21-14 loss to the New York Jets is cornerback Tavierre Thomas.
In his fourth start this season, Thomas recorded his first NFL interception, which was Houston's 11th takeaway in three games - not that this eased the pain of the ninth loss of the season.
"I’ve been waiting a long time," Thomas said. "Happy it came . Mad we didn’t get the win, but glad I got my first one."
The former Cleveland Browns player arrived in free agency on a two-year contract and has quickly become an important member of Lovie Smith's defense and Frank Ross' special teams.
On 21 targets this year, Thomas has allowed 15 completions for 116 yards and zero touchdowns.
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"He's a football player from the standpoint he loves to practice, he's got the same energy everyday," coach David Culley said. "I kind of sometimes feel like that I've got to slow him down in practice because he's all over the place, special teams and on defense. I was very happy to see him get that interception yesterday, being in the right place at the right time, and that's the kind of player that he is."
And Culley's comments on Thomas' work rate certainly seem to ring true given the 25-year-old's approach to learning from Smith.
"I’m the only nickel and I’m with Lovie every day, all day and he teaches me everything from all standpoints, safety, corner, linebackers," Thomas said. "I know what everybody is doing. When one person messes up, everybody knows who to look at."
Thomas is one of just five defensive backs currently under contract in 2022. Assuming Smith remains with the Texans next year, having a player with Thomas' knowledge of the system on the roster that will inevitably undergo a second rebuild in as many years could prove extremely valuable - especially if he can rack up a few more interceptions before the end of this year.