Kevin Johnson to put "best foot forward" vs. KC

On a defense littered with big names, Kevin Johnson's is down the list in terms of star-power.

He isn't a 2-time Defensive Player of the Year like J.J. Watt.

He doesn't own a pair of Super Bowl rings like Vince Wilfork.

He hasn't been a team MVP like Brian Cushing was in 2011.

He wasn't the first overall pick in the NFL Draft like Jadeveon Clowney.

The rookie from Wake Forest isn't even listed as a starter on the team's unofficial depth chart.

But make no mistake: the Texans will rely upon their 2015 first rounder.

"I think Kevin has made good progress through the preseason," defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel said. "He's gotten to the games and he's shown that he's competitive and will compete, will take some chances and he's learned. I think he learns from his mistakes. I think he'll represent himself well when he gets into the game."

Johnson saw quite a bit of preseason action in the first three games. Against the 49ers and Broncos, no defender from the Texans was on the field more. He got the fifth-most amount of snaps, defensively, at New Orleans, before getting the night off at Dallas last Thursday. Based off what he's seen of Johnson through those three games, along with the work in rookie minicamp, OTAs and training camp, head coach Bill O'Brien is optimistic.

"I feel good," O'Brien said. "I think as far as a rookie's concerned, I think he's come in here and had a really good daily approach, been very consistent. He works hard. He's smart."

 

Johnson will play Sunday against a Chiefs' offense replete with playmakers, one of whom is receiver Jeremy Maclin. The rookie acknowledged the test he'll face.

"Definitely, I'm a football fan so I've been watching the NFL for a long time so I've definitely seen him play," Johnson said. "He's a great player. It's definitely going to be a challenge going against a guy like that."

He said he has some "butterflies", but he's also not lacking for confidence in his abilities. And he's keeping it simple in terms of preparing for his big first day.

"Watching the game plan, watching as much tape as I can," Johnson said. "The coaches are doing a great job getting us ready for the game so I'm just putting my best foot forward."

Johnson and the Texans practice at the Houston Methodist Training Center again on Friday morning. They'll host the Chiefs at NRG Stadium on Sunday. Kickoff is at noon, CT. 

Take a look back at the six-game series history between the Houston Texans and the Kansas City Chiefs.

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