Defensive lineman Jonathan Greenard is on the move.
He is transitioning from outside linebacker to defensive end as the Houston Texans move on from a 3-4 to defensive coordinator Lovie Smith's 4-3 Tampa 2 scheme.
"I have less coverage responsibilities in this scheme and it just lets you be more of a defensive lineman and go make plays from the other side of the ball," said Greenard.
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In order to make plays up-front, the 6-3, 263-pound Greenard, a third-round NFL Draft pick in 2020, will have to hone his pass-rushing skills, something he said he's been working on this offseason.
"I definitely want to master one move, obviously," said Greenard. "I’ve just been opening up my range of moves for everything. Getting more flexible. Getting more strong, powerful, hands, eyes, just all working everything together."
Another key to improving this season will be reps. In 2020, Greenard only played 265 plays on defense, recording just one sack, one defended pass and 19 combined tackles. His talent, most agree, is undeniable, but he has work to do if he's to reach his potential in the NFL.
Thankfully for Greenard, with such a veteran-heavy roster around him, there are plenty of experienced teammates to lean on for advice.
"We’ve got some guys who have been in the league for a while with Maliek (Collins), Shaq (Lawson), other guys," said Greenard. "We’ve still got guys here like Brandon Dunn and some of the young guys, as well. We’re all learning from the guys."
Greenard went on to say that with this group of players and the environment that is being built, he believes that "you’re going to see a difference in us just overall just playing more free and more comfortable."
Not only will they be playing with more freedom, but with a major chip on their shoulder after a disappointing 4-12 season in 2020 during which the Texans defense struggled.
"A lot of times last year you saw we had a lot of plays we just didn’t finish, a lot of games we didn’t finish," said Greenard.
"Don’t think that we kind of just put it on the back burner because we definitely do remember that,'' he continued. "We definitely use that as fuel because that’s one thing he’s (Smith) teaching us as soon as he got in there, is turn the ball over, get after the quarterback and make these guys feel you.
"I think that’s one thing we’ve got to bring back here is to make people feel us and not adjust to them. They got to adjust to us."
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