The Houston Texans training camp is now here and will be upon us within the next couple of days. The Buffalo Bills have already started theirs and will have their minds set on the New York Giants when the preseason kicks off August 3rd. While the Bills prepare, the rest of the league will be enjoying the last few days away from football that they have. Let’s take one more look at what to keep your eyes on before training camp gets started.
When training camp comes around July 25th, one player that you should keep an eye on is Whitney Mercilus. Mercilus has been a sound player these past two years, recording 72 tackles and 13 sacks. He’s been consistent and expect him to have a better season in 2014.
With the defense that the Texans have, it should be enough so that everyone on the defense, including Mercilus, will have the opportunity to make plays. J.J. Watt should return to his 2012 form when he recorded 20.5 sacks and was the defensive player of the year. Brian Cushing, if he can remain healthy, should play to the high level that he’s capable of. Jadeveon Clowney will also be a big help and the backend of the defense should still be better than they were last year.
Mercilus is the guy to focus on because nobody is paying any attention to him. He’s not being looked at because of all the other players that we know that can play and are expected to put up good numbers this upcoming year. Mercilus is a good player who has solid speed coming off the edge and solid strength, and new defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel should be able to find some use for him in his defense.
Watt, Cushing, and Clowney are the main guys that offenses are going to make their game plan around, making Mercilus the least likely to be looked at as a threat to do much harm and giving him more and better opportunities to make plays for the defense.
In training camp all the eyes will be on Watt and Clowney and how they will be able to play together rushing the passer. Depending on what side they are on, the offense mainly will be focusing on stopping them throughout the entire game, causing most of the protection to go their way. This will lead to many opportunities for all the linebackers including Mercilus to make plays, and if the other team is crazy enough not to focus on Watt or Clowney, then they will learn very quickly and somebody is going to be out of a job.
So while those two take up most of the attention from the offense it will make space for Mercilus and the linebacking corps to attack the hole with very little means of contact and make plays.