Christian Kirksey is the man in the middle at linebacker for the Texans and he's charged up about what lies ahead for the defense.
After the preseason wrapped up Saturday night with the loss to Tampa Bay at NRG Stadium, Kirksey discussed his role on the defense and what it means to be the middle linebacker in Coordinator Lovie Smith's 4-3 scheme. Kirksey sat out the preseason opener in Green Bay and then played a quarter of the snaps at Dallas last week. Against the Buccaneers, he registered five tackles, a tackle for loss and played 37 snaps. That snap count was 55 percent of the total snaps the Texans defense was on the field.
Kirksey, according to Smith, is a "quarterback" for the defense. For the 8-year veteran, being vocal is all part of the job.
"He wants that linebacker position to be Alpha males out there taking control, show your athleticism and he wants all the weight on the linebacker's shoulder," Kirksey said. "When it comes to the thinking part of it, he wants to put it on the linebackers. We take great pride in being in that position and understanding that Lovie wants everything to go through the linebacker, the communication part, getting guys lined up."
Kirksey and the Texans are transitioning this week and preparing for the Jaguars. Houston hosts Jacksonville in Week 1 at NRG Stadium, with a Noon kickoff on September 12.
After three games, the Texans came up with 10 takeaways. That was a bright spot, but Kirksey said there's still quite a bit of improvement that needs to happen.
"Obviously we're not where we want to be exactly," Kirksey. "We've still got some stuff to clean up. We got hit on some plays we wish we could have back, but it's preseason. It's meant to clean up everything and see where we're at. We're moving forward, we've got some great players and we're getting ready for Week 1."
On the whole, Kirksey is optimistic about what he, Linebackers Kamu Grugier-Hill, Tae Davis and the Texans can accomplish on defense in 2021.
"It's a good defense for guys like Kamu, myself, Tae Davis, other guys in that room who can run around, make plays and think or at the same time not over think," Kirksey said. "It's a good defense for us and I'm enjoying it."
Kirksey and the Texans will practice inside the Houston Methodist Training Center on Monday afternoon.