Playing in between J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney has its benefits. Someone will get double-teamed, but who?
Second-year nose tackle D.J. Reader hopes to take advantage of playing off of two Pro Bowlers, who can't help but draw the attention of opposing offensive coordinators.
"They force a lot of plays to me," Reader said last month on Texans Radio. "Those guys are going to get it done. I can help them holding down the double team and don't let people get to them so I'm excited to just be able to have a great defensive line."
If Reader is the one drawing double teams, he is more than comfortable in that role too. As a rookie last season, Reader observed and learned from veteran Vince Wilfork. This year, Reader will step in as a starter for the All-Pro and his teammates expect a seamless transition.
"I expect him (Reader) to come out and play like he did last year," Clowney said. "He gave us big minutes last year. He played good. He's a great run stopper. It's only up for him. I think he's going to be one of the best interior run-stopper guys in this league. If he keeps playing the way he's playing, eventually it's going to show and he's going to be there."
Readers started seven games in 2016, as well as two postseason contests. He has the most starts by a rookie defensive lineman since J.J. Watt (16) in 2011.
The Houston Texans roster in photos. (Updated 2/24/2021)