With one quarter of football in the books, the Houston Texans returned from their bye to prepare for their Week 7 opponent, the Las Vegas Raiders.
Jalen Pitre has been one of the bright spots of the first five games of the season, delivering two interceptions, a sack, a fumble recovery, two passes defensed along with 38 tackles (21 solo) and three tackles for loss.
"He's gotten a lot of valuable reps, just normal growth of going through the season," Head Coach Lovie Smith said Wednesday. "Excited him about seeing him the second quarter of the football season. He's learned an awful lot. He can make plays."
The Texans second-round picks says he still has a list of things he wants to improve moving forward. With a balance of film study and walkthrough practices, Pitre says both help slow the game down a bit so he can watch it unfold and react.
"I want to become more vocal on the field, help my teammates out when I see certain things," Pitre said. "Like I talked about the formations and recognizing certain plays and then I just want to run faster to the ball and continue to have fun with my teammates. Those are two big things that I try to do week in and week out and I'm just going to try to keep building on that."
During the scouting process, Texans Assistant Director of Player Personnel & College Scouting Director James Liipfert was impressed with Pitre's versatility on tape as much as his work ethic. He attributed a big part of Baylor's success as Big 12 Champions to Pitre's role on defense.
"I'd say Jalen is sort of a silent guy, action-based leader, cerebral, intelligent, tough, competitive, a lot of those things," Liipfert said. "I'd say the intangibles are a big part of why he was a good player and a lot of those guys from Baylor, Baylor guys, they seem to have success in the NFL and a lot of those single-digit guys are cut from the same cloth. They've got good DNA and ultimately, you have to be tough, you have to be competitive. You don't have those things, you are going to struggle and Jalen has those."
Among those intangibles is the ability to take coaching at every level and excel. In fact, over the weekend, Pitre visited Stafford High School where he played as an All-District defensive back, named 2016 District 12-4A Defensive MVP after leading his school to the 4A Division I regionals.
"I actually got my high school jersey retired," Pitre said. "So, you know, it was a pretty chill bye week but got to spend some time at my high school talk to the team and saw a lot of my old teachers and teammates. It was real good to get back to Stafford."
Pitre and the Texans return to action on Sunday against the Raiders. Kickoff from Allegiant Stadium is set for 3:05 p.m. CT on CBS and SportsRadio 610.