DeMeco Ryans saw the Texans linebacker corps play fast, physically and relentlessly on Thursday night.
Ryans and Houston beat the Patriots, 20-9, at Gillette Stadium. A big reason for the defense's success came from the likes of Denzel Perryman, Christian Harris, Henry To'oTo'o and the linebackers.
"They made plays yesterday," Ryans said during a Friday morning press conference at NRG Stadium. "It was fun to see those guys make plays."
Perryman logged four tackles and a sack, while To'oTo'o led the way with five tackles. Linebacker Jake Hansen was also in on a quartet of tackles. On the whole, the Texans defense didn't allow a touchdown until the game's closing minutes, and limited the Patriots to just 3-of-12 on third down conversions. Further, they bottled up the New England offense, which mustered just 164 yards at home.
For the rookie To'oTo'o, it was a good first step in his process as a professional. He was happy the defense played well and helped get the team a win, but also knows there areas in which he can get better.
"I take pride in communication, so definitely getting more guys lined up faster, getting the linemen their calls a little bit quicker, speaking to the back end," To'oTo'o said. "But I think my whole objective is just getting these guys to be in the best position to be able to have them succeed. That's the role of a mike linebacker. You're the quarterback and you got to put guys in position to succeed and ultimately yourself too. So the quicker I can get them lined up, the better I can be."
Ryans agreed with the idea of needing to see improvement, but he liked the way the linebackers played with a swarm mentality.
"Like with everyone, they have things they can improve on, but I always start with their intent," Ryans said. "They were playing fast. They were playing physical. We can clean up any technique issue, as long as guys continue with that relentless mindset."
The Texans have Friday off, and will return to the practice field on Saturday afternoon.