Whitney Mercilus is a difference-maker.
Just ask 2-time NFL MVP and future Pro Football Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers.
"Whitney's making a ton of plays," the Green Bay quarterback said Wednesday of the Texans linebacker. "He's a guy who's, I think, been a solid player for a number of years. This year, I don't know if it's just feeling 100 percent or whatever, but he's showing up a lot on the tape."
Mercilus rang up three tackles for loss in Sunday's game against the Chargers at NRG Stadium. He has eight on the season, to go along with a team-high 4.5 sacks. Rodgers, who's worked out with Mercilus in past offseasons, is impressed with what the fifth-year pro's accomplished.
"I've gotten to know him a little bit over the years," Rodgers said. "I just appreciate his work ethic and his approach. I think he's playing really, really well."
Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who has three sacks and a team-best 12 tackles for loss, echoed Rodgers' thoughts about Mercilus' work ethic.
"He was one of the hardest workers I've seen when I came here," Clowney said. "He's just been getting better and better each year since I've been here. I've seen a lot of improvement in his game."
For Mercilus, facing Rodgers and company is a stiff challenge, and one not just limited to a high-octane offense.
"Going against the Packers, still they got guys that can make plays on defense, on offense and things like that, so we just got to go out there and play consistent, correct the things that we didn't do so well in the past games, move forward and play consistently all around," Mercilus said. "Complimentary football."
Kickoff is Sunday at noon CT in Lambeau Field.
The Houston Texans roster in photos. (Updated 2/26/2021)