In a league where there is no such thing as too many elite pass rushers, Benardrick McKinney is working on fine-tuning his skills at attacking quarterbacks.
“He’s done a good job in that area for us,” head coach Bill O’Brien said. “He’s got good length. He’s got good athleticism. He understands the blocking schemes. (He’s) got good guys around him that forces a lot of one-on-ones relative to him. Sometimes they’re doubling this guy over here, 99 (J.J. Watt) or they’re doubling 90 (Jadeveon Clowney) or they’re doubling 59 (Whitney Mercilus), and that frees him up so he’s one-on-one with a guard or one-on-one with a tackle or a center. We line him up all over the place, so I think he does a good job of taking advantage of that.”
The Texans starting inside linebacker notched a career-high two sacks and three tackles for loss in the 13-9 win at Cincinnati. While Watt, Clowney and Mercilus command double and triple teams, McKinney hopes to continue taking advantage of the one-on-one matchups whenever he can.
“Pass-rush is really hard,” McKinney said on Texans Radio. “It looks easy. It’s really hard. I always ask Whit (Mercilus) for some pointers on how to pass-rush. It’s hard because offenses are game-planning on guys like J.D. (Clowney), J.J. and Whit, and they kind of sleep on me, and I just – they call me cleanup man because they do all the work. They do a tremendous job getting to the quarterback, and I just clean up the leftovers and try to get what I can get.”
After his multi-sack performance though, McKinney could not help but joke with his teammates about his budding pass-rush prowess.
“Yeah, I mean they joke on me every day saying how they pass rush, trying to teach me how to pass-rush,” McKinney said, laughing. “But, after the Bengals game I joked with them a lot saying, ‘let me teach y’all how to pass-rush. Let me teach y’all something.’ But we got great pass-rushers. J.J., J.D. (Clowney), and Whit – they do a tremendous job getting to the quarterback.”
Through two games, McKinney leads the team in tackles (17), sacks (2), tackles for loss (3) and is tied for a team-high two quarterback hits and one forced fumble.