Bill O'Brien wants versatility from every player. That means everyone, barring the kicker, punter, and quarterback, will have expanded roles at their respective positions. Outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus, now entering his third season, is no exception.
"More drops into coverage instead of solely rushing, rushing, rushing," Mercilus said on June 18 of his added duties. "So now, (I am) understanding concepts and formations of the offense and being able to drop back into coverage, understanding what are my keys, what am I reading for, and reacting between pass and run, especially when I do have to drop back into coverage."
Most of the playbook install is complete after the conclusion of minicamps and OTAs. During the month off between mid-June and late July, Mercilus doesn't plan to stray too far from his workouts and studying.
"We've been in the system a month, a month and a half," Mercilus said. "We understand the concepts and everything they've put in so far. Now it's just correcting the small things. (I'll) definitely go back and study in the time we're off, also just stay in shape because I know when we come back they're going to expect us to be in shape."
Up to 260 pounds from his 252 last year, he feels great about the shape he's in and is excited about the new role he'll play in Romeo Crennel's defense.
"Of course I love it," Mercilus said. "It's definitely showing my versatility and being instinctive on the field."
The Houston Texans begin training camp on Saturday, July 26 at the Houston Methodist Training Center.