Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel is optimistic about rookie nose tackle Louis Nix III. Despite missing time early in OTAs with an injury, Nix is easing his way back onto the practice field.
"Well, he got himself banged up early and so his knee was an issue," Crennel said in his press conference Tuesday. "He hasn't as much of an opportunity. I can tell he is a sharp guy and a guy with wits about him. His head is spinning as well. I think as soon as that knee gets well -he's a big, strong, physical player and he has played the nose position, and so he knows how to play it- I think that will all bode well for him."
The Texans hit the fields at Houston Methodist Training Center for the eighth day of Organized Training Activities.
Nix watches veteran nose tackle Jerrell Powe, who played for Crennel in Kansas City, during practice. The third rounder from Notre Dame says he continues to make mistakes but is learning from them. Nix has even stayed away from social media outlets like Twitter during his transition into the NFL.
"You just have to focus on a lot of stuff," Nix said Tuesday. "I focus more on the playbook, you know, calls. I study my playbook more now than I did in college because you don't have to worry about homework and stuff like that. Before you go to bed, you have to look over everything. It's like a 24/7 job. You eat, sleep, and think football."
Crennel considers the nose tackle a key position in the 3-4 scheme. In order for defensive players to be playmakers, it all starts with the nose tackle drawing and commanding double teams.
"Nose is critical," Crennel said. "He has to be able to win one-on-one, force the double team and then not get killed on the double team. Then that allows the linebackers behind him to be good. It allows the free safety down the middle of the field to be good. Therefore, it allows you to be good down the middle."
The Texans wrap up OTAs this week and will begin mandatory minicamp practice starting Monday, June 16.