NFL Wire News

Mercilus finally joins sacks column


The Sports Xchange

HOUSTON — It had been a long time since Texans outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus sacked a quarterback. He broke that drought Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, twice sacking Blake Bortles.

Before Sunday, Mercilus hadn’t sacked a quarterback since recording one on Bortles in the final game of last season. He was signed to a four-year, $26 million contract extension this year that included a $5.25 million signing bonus with $10.681 million guaranteed.

“Just being diligent, working hard and trying to make things happen, that’s how you’ve got to rush the passer,” Mercilus said. “You have to be relentless.”

It was probably not by happenstance that Mercilus had his first pass-rushing success this season lining up at his old spot on the right side with Jadeveon Clowney sidelined with a sprained right ankle.

Mercilus looked more comfortable at the Jack linebacker position rather than the Sam outside linebacker on the left side.

“There might be something to that,” Texans head coach Bill O’Brien said. “Whitney probably played, to this point this season, his best game. He had two sacks and set the edge in the running game.”

–Texans rookie defensive lineman Christian Covington has provided quickness at the line of scrimmage. Although the former Rice standout has three tackles while playing sparingly on a rotational basis, Covington has been adjusting to the increased speed of the NFL.

“So far, so good,” said Covington, a native of Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada. “I was told before the season how I’d be used and I see myself as a role player. I’m being patient. I’m still in the learning phase of my rookie season.”

Covington isn’t the biggest defensive lineman at 6-2, 289 pounds, but is athletic with 4.89 speed in the 40-yard dash.

“One thing I bring to the table is my quickness as an interior defensive lineman,” Covington said. “The Texans know what I can bring to the table and I know they’re able to utilize that on Sundays.”

–A colorful sock collection and an infectious personality returned to the locker room when the Texans claimed popular cornerback Charles James off waivers from the Baltimore Ravens. Made famous by his star turn on the Hard Knocks program on HBO, James was one of the Texans’ final roster cuts. James was added with cornerback Kareem Jackson (sprained ankle) and strong safety Quintin Demps (hamstring) both dealing with injuries.

“We brought back Charles and his socks; we’ll see what kind of socks he’s wearing,” Texans head coach Bill O’Brien said. “I think he’ll really help us on special teams and add some depth in the secondary. We have a couple of injuries there.”

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