The 2014 season was a turning point for Jared Crick, who earned a starting role in Week 1 after spending his first two years in the NFL as a backup.
"Individually, I thought I had a pretty good year and I knew I would," Crick said Tuesday on Texans Radio. "I just need that chance to get in the starting lineup and I knew I'd produce.
With the departure of Antonio Smith, a new coaching staff in place, and a stout performance in OTAs and training camp, Crick quickly became a tandem with J.J. Watt on the defensive line. He made the most of each snap and earned more playing time even througout the season.
"This year, being in the starting lineup, I was able to show how I could play and especially toward the end of the year when Jamo (Tim Jamison) went down with his injury, I was in on all the third down snaps," Crick said. "I wasn't playing third down prior to that. Getting in on some third-down opportunities, I was able to show what I could do and it was my role to come in on third down and help rush."
Crick finished the year with 56 tackles (29 solo), 3.5 sacks for a loss of 20 yards, six tackles for a loss, 11 quarterback hits, and six passes defensed. Two of his tipped passes resulted in interceptions for Houston. In Week 6 against the Colts, Crick's play led to the second quarter interception by Justin Tuggle at the Indianapolis 34-yard line.
As the season progressed, so did Crick. In Week 15 against Baltimore, he sacked Joe Flacco for a 10-yard loss, and finished with two quarterback hits and a pass defensed. His pass defensed led to A.J. Bouye's second quarter interception inside Baltimore's 20-yard line.
Crick, who will be entering his fourth NFL season this year, is ready to build on what he accomplished last year. Heading into a second offseason under head coach Bill O'Brien, he says he doesn't have to worry about learing a new scheme or proving himself to coaches. He can just pick up where he left off and continue to improve.
"It's different because not only do I know what to anticipate now coming into the next OTAs going into the next season, but knowing the scheme, playing here, being the starter for a year now, and just really knowing the ropes and what to expect makes it a whole lot easier," Crick said.