On Now
Coming Up
  • Tue., Aug. 30, 2016 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM CDT Houston Texans Team Luncheon pres. by Amegy Bank of Texas

    The Houston Texans Team Luncheon is set for Tuesday, August 30 from noon – 2pm with the entire Texans team.  Hear from Head Coach Bill O’Brien and top Texans players as they prepare for the 2016 season!

    Table/Ticket Info - http://www.houstontexans.com/community/team-luncheon.html

  • Sat., Sep. 03, 2016 11:00 PM - 11:30 PM CDT Texans 360 TV Show Tune into KTRK ABC 13 in Houston (or check local listings across Texas) each Saturday at 11 PM for this Texans show that covers all the happenings each week of the team throughout the offseason from community events, offseason training and various team functions with Cheerleaders and players.
  • Sun., Sep. 04, 2016 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM CDT Houston Texans Back To Football Fan Fest

    Football season is officially back! Come kickoff the season with us at our new Back to Football Fan Fest at CITYCENTRE Plaza (I-10 & Beltway 8) on Sunday, September 4 from 1pm - 3pm!  Bring the entire family for this FREE event and join Houston Texans Ambassadors, Cheerleaders, and TORO! We'll also have live music, autograph signings, interactive games, and Texans giveaways so don't miss out! 

    Info - http://www.houstontexans.com/fan-zone/fanfest.html

  • Fri., Sep. 09, 2016 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM CDT Texans Friday: Fuddruckers

    Friday, September 9
    Noon-1pm – Fuddruckers, 2400B South MacGregor Way, Houston, TX 77021

    Proudly wear your Texans gear to get a FREE classic shake (1/person) for this hour at any area Fuddruckers

    Houston Texans Cheerleaders signing autographs and taking pictures

    More info: http://www.houstontexans.com/fan-zone/Texans-Friday.html

  • Sat., Sep. 10, 2016 11:00 PM - 11:30 PM CDT Texans 360 TV Show Tune into KTRK ABC 13 in Houston (or check local listings across Texas) each Saturday at 11 PM for this Texans show that covers all the happenings each week of the team throughout the offseason from community events, offseason training and various team functions with Cheerleaders and players.
  • Fri., Sep. 16, 2016 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM CDT Texans Friday: Jack in the Box

    Friday, September 16
    Noon-1pm – Jack in the Box, 6060 Long Dr., Houston, TX 77087

    Proudly wear your Texans gear to get a FREE Jumbo Jack for this hour at this location

    Houston Texans Cheerleaders signing autographs and taking pictures

    Jack in the Box is going to be giving away 4 tickets to a Houston Texans home game and two autograph items

    More info: http://www.houstontexans.com/fan-zone/Texans-Friday.html

  • Fri., Sep. 30, 2016 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM CDT Texans Friday: Jack in the Box

    Friday, September 30
    Noon-1pm – Jack in the Box, 739 North Sam Houston Parkway, Houston, TX 77060

    Proudly wear your Texans gear to get a FREE Jumbo Jack for this hour at this location

    Houston Texans Cheerleaders signing autographs and taking pictures

    Jack in the Box is going to be giving away 4 tickets to a Houston Texans home game and two autograph items

    More info: http://www.houstontexans.com/fan-zone/Texans-Friday.html

  • Sun., Oct. 09, 2016 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM CDT Running of the Bulls 5K Run/Walk pres. by H-E-B

    The 2016 Houston Texans Running of the Bulls 5K Run and Walk presented by H-E-B and TORO's Kids 1K presented by Texas Children’s Hospital are Sunday, October 9 at NRG Park.  Both races included a race t-shirt, interactive water stops, entry into the post-race party and finish on the floor of NRG Stadium.  Be sure to secure your spot today at HoustonTexans.com before the race sells out! 

    Register - http://www.houstontexans.com/community/houston-texans-foundation/ROTB-H.html

  • Fri., Oct. 14, 2016 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM CDT Texans Friday: Fuddruckers

    Friday, October 14
    Noon-1pm – Fuddruckers, TBD

    Proudly wear your Texans gear to get a FREE classic shake (1/person) for this hour at any area Fuddruckers

    Houston Texans Cheerleaders signing autographs and taking pictures

    More info: http://www.houstontexans.com/fan-zone/Texans-Friday.html

  • Fri., Oct. 28, 2016 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM CDT Texans Friday: Jack in the Box

    Friday, October 28
    Noon-1pm – Jack in the Box, 2104 E Sam Houston Parkway S, Pasadena, TX 77503

    Proudly wear your Texans gear to get a FREE Jumbo Jack for this hour at this location

    Houston Texans Cheerleaders signing autographs and taking pictures

    Jack in the Box is going to be giving away 4 tickets to a Houston Texans home game and two autograph items

    More info: http://www.houstontexans.com/fan-zone/Texans-Friday.html

News

Print
RSS

First-round pick Whitney Mercilus improving in limited role

Posted Sep 28, 2012

Rookie Whitney Mercilus is contributing on special teams, and hoping to soon make a bigger impact on defense as well.


Week by week, repetition by repetition, rookie linebacker Whitney Mercilus is adjusting to the NFL.

Mercilus, the Texans’ 2012 first-round draft pick, has mainly contributed on special teams in the first month of the regular season. He has played sparingly on defense through three games, earning about 10-12 snaps per week behind Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed.

“I just gotta prepare harder week to week,” Mercilus said Thursday. “I’m just trying to earn more snaps so that I’m able to help out Connor and Brooks, so they can get some rest.”

There is no sense of entitlement with the Illinois product, who led the NCAA with 16 sacks and nine forced fumbles as a junior last season. Mercilus didn’t get much time on special teams in the preseason, but that changed once the real games began.

“Not playing in the preseason and being his first game playing special teams against Miami in Week 1, he’s gotten better and better and better,” Texans special teams coordinator Joe Marciano said. “He’s very willing. He understands. He just needs more repetitions.”

With two special teams tackles last Sunday, Mercilus made his presence felt in the victory at Denver. One memorable hit saw a Broncos returner leap into the rookie’s grasp only to be driven quickly into the turf.

“They were trying to do a couple twists or whatever, double blocks or blind-side blocks,” Mercilus said. “I was able to read it fast and then kind of juke the guy and get down and make a special hit on the returner. I’m just trying to do more of that and eventually, hopefully I do the same thing in this game.”

Mercilus has embraced his role on special teams despite his first-round status and despite leading the Texans with 3.5 sacks in the preseason. And his coaches and teammates have taken notice.

“It’s tough; when you’re a first-round pick, you’re expected to do all that, and it’s hard to get on the field for us right now,” Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. “He’s doing his job and he’s working hard. The time is coming and our depth will be tested, but he’s coming along fine.”

Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips echoed that, and pointed out that Reed was in a similar situation last year as a rookie.

“Whitney is doing fine,” Phillips said. “We’re trying to bring him in slowly. We tried to do the same thing with Brooks Reed last year and all of the sudden, he had to play all the time. I think Whitney is getting ready to play, and we’ll play him more and more as we go.”

Defensive end and captain Antonio Smith, who is also encouraged by Mercilus’ potential, agreed that it’s just a matter of time.

“He has a lot of upside he has to tap into,” Smith said. “The only way you can do that is to get game-time experience. You need game-time experience. You need game reps to learn how to rush. You can’t always get it in practice.”

Those reps will come for Mercilus as this season progresses. In the meantime, the talented rookie will look to make the most of his reps on special teams and limited snaps on defense.

Content on HoustonTexans.com does not necessarily represent the views of the Houston Texans front office staff, coaches or executives.

Trending Now

Recent News