The full Deep Slant presented by Xfinity interview can be watched here.
As a rookie, Charles Omenihu relied on J.J. Watt to help him get acclimated to playing in the NFL. Now in Year 2, Omenihu is taking that advice to the field and having early success, picking up sacks on Lamar Jackson and Ben Roethlisberger in back-to-back games."
"It's been a lot of fun to try and teach him some things and, from Year One to Year Two, you can start to have deeper level conversations with a guy," Watt said. "You can start to have those higher-level football IQ conversations. It's been a lot of fun to have those and see him utilize them as we go through practice."
Watt was looking forward to seeing the second-year defensive lineman's growth, but he didn't have to wait long. Omenihu says feels like he's playing faster, more instinctively as a pass rusher. He credits Watt for helping him see the game differently through those "higher-level football IQ conversations."
"Obviously because we work together a lot on games, so just bouncing off ideas," Omenihu said. "What he thinks about certain guys, because he's seen them more than I have. Then just kind of me telling him how I feel just based on what I see stance-wise, tells of what's going to happen before the play, things like that. I think that's what he's kind of talking about. I've gotten to the point where I can see when it's going to be running or pass by stance, formation and things like that."
As a rookie, Omenihu was playing a majority of snaps on third down. This year, his role is expanded, playing more on first and second down as well as playing on the interior part of the defensive line. Even though the sacks are accumulating, Omenihu has his sights on rounding out his defensive skill set so that he can contribute on more plays, and in more ways than just rushing the passer.
"I wouldn't say I'm learning still," Omenihu said. "I think I have a good grasp of what I'm up against, it's just ok now how do I play better? How do I play better to become an all-around player, and not just a guy who can rush, just be an all-around player? That's how I feel like you get the respect of teammates and respect of the league."
After his first quarter sack on Roethlisberger for a loss of 10 yards on Sunday, Omenihu joined Whitney Mercilus as the only Texans players with at least 1.0 sack in two of their first three games of a season since 2017. Omenihu now has 5.0 sacks in his NFL career.