D.J. Reader and the interior defensive linemen, who refer to themselves as the Lunch Pail Crew (or "LPC") have embraced a blue-collar, hard-working mentality that has quietly gotten them attention despite their efforts to keep a low profile.
"I think we're doing good, doing our job," Reader said. "We don't really need the credit. We credit ourselves. We're real close-knit and we like each other and we have good fun with each other."
J.J. Watt referred to Reader as "the best nose guard in the league" after his fourth-year teammate had three tackles, 1.5 sacks, one tackle for loss and three quarterback hits in the Texans win over the L.A. Chargers.
"Those guys are unbelievable at taking on double teams and being stout in the run game and taking blockers off of guys," Watt said. "Our roles are slightly different, so I don't necessarily fit into the 'lunch pail' category."
"Means a lot, man," Reader said. "He's a Hall of Fame guy. I sit in the room with greatness and I said that the other day on Twitter. He's a great guy to be around and pushes you to work every day. Coming in and just enjoying it. He has a good time, cracks a lot of jokes."
The core of the LPC consists of three defensive linemen, Reader, Brandon Dunn and Angelo Blackson. Head coach Bill O'Brien credited Dunn for a big stop on the Chargers offense to force a field goal in the fourth quarter of Sunday's win.
"That was big," O'Brien said. "That was a lot of great effort on that play. Brandon Dunn stood up the center, did a really good job. Reader, Watt and then B-Mac (Benardrick McKinney) jumped over the top and he was a part of that too, but I think Brandon Dunn doing what he did in the middle of that defense, he's an unsung player on our defense. He's a grinder, he's a great teammate, and the play that he made there was really, really awesome."
The LPC is garnering a fair amount of attention through three games this year. The defensive linemen not in the core group are referred to as LPC "Adjacents," according to Reader.
And what about Watt, the three-time AP Defensive Player of the Year, future Hall of Famer?
"Adjacent - he's our manager," Reader says with a straight face. "We got back on good managerial terms this morning actually, so he is our manager. We have patched that relationship up. He doesn't want to be a part of the crew. He's just fine handling the money."
The LPC crew will next see action on Sunday when the Texans host the Carolina Panthers. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. noon on FOX-26 and SportsRadio 610.