Maliek Collins may get his first taste of preseason as a Houston Texan in the stadium where his NFL career first began.
The six-year defensive lineman, signed by the Texans in March as a free agent, has impressed in Training Camp presented by Xfinity.
"We're very pleased with what Maliek has done," defensive coordinator Lovie Smith said. "We brought him here to do that, though. I mean, he's a good football player. He's our profile for our under tackle, three-technique. A guy with size, he's a 300-pounder with loose hips, he's athletic, he can rush the passer. Those situations of one-on-one, to me, it can be a good defense if you get one of your three-technique one-on-one with the guard. Maliek's going to win most of those, and that's a pretty good defense for us. Pleased with what he's done in practice. I can't wait to get him some game work."
A third-round draft selection in 2016, Collins played four seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. Last season, he appeared in 12 games (11 starts) with the Las Vegas Raiders but dealt with injuries. This offseason, Collins worked closely with defensive line coach Bobby King on getting back into form.
"B.K., he actually is working a lot on me, hounding on me about my technique, get my foot in the ground, you know, playing with my hands, shedding blocks, etc.," Collins said. "But for me, I come out here and I work on my get-off every day. I mean, that's a big part of my game. That's a big part of playing three-technique in this system is to get off and pursuit to the ball. I mean, that's everything."
His prior experience playing in a 4-3 scheme with both the Cowboys and the Raiders, Collins is enjoying playing for a new team in a system that he knows well.
"It's fun playing for Lovie," Collins said. "He's just he's the same guy every day. He is consistent with who he is and that reflects on the players, too. We've got to be consistent with who we are, who we are at practice every day and our approach to the game. I'm familiar with the 4-3, I'm familiar with this system and I'm hoping it's open is going to pay off in the next coming weeks."
In his four seasons with the Cowboys, Collins recorded 85 quarterback hits and played in all but three games. In 2019, he started all 16 games for Dallas and recorded 4.0 tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks, 26 quarterback hits and one fumble recovery.
The Texans will play the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday in their second preseason game. Kickoff from AT&T Stadium is set for 7 p.m. CDT on ABC-13, SportsRadio 610 and HoustonTexans.com.