Texans DC Lovie Smith anticipates being a ‘better defense’ with DT Ross Blacklock

·1 min read

Things were starting to come together for Ross Blacklock.

The former 2020 second-round pick from TCU was coming off an impactful performance against the Carolina Panthers in Week 3. Although the Houston Texans fell 24-9 on Thursday Night Football at NRG Stadium, Blacklock added two combined tackles, 1.0 sack, a forced fumble, and a quarterback hit in his 25 defensive snaps.

Then, on Oct. 2, the Friday before the Week 4 encounter with the Buffalo Bills, Blacklock tested positive for COVID-19 and was placed on the COVID reserve. All of Blacklock’s momentum came to a halt, as did the Texans’ progress on defense.

With Blacklock off the reserve and set to rejoin the lineup as Houston faces the Arizona Cardinals in Week 7, defensive coordinator Lovie Smith believes the defense will play much better with one of his younger contributors in the lineup.

“We talked about Jonathan Greenard, Jacob Martin, young players that are coming into their own,” Smith said. “I think Ross is in a similar situation. COVID, of course, kind of knocked him out a while, but he’s athletic. He’s been productive rushing the passer at our three-technique position. He just needs to play. We’ll be a better defense once he’s in the mix, also, and we plan on having him in this week.”

The 25-snap range is whereabouts Blacklock has hovered throughout the season. In Week 1, Blacklock played 27 against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 37-21 win, and then followed up with 23 snaps in the 31-21 loss to the Cleveland Browns in Week 2.

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