The engine is ready for 2022.
Texans Head Coach Lovie Smith has referred to the defensive line as the "engine" of the team's defense. More specifically, the 3-technique defensive tackle spot—which is manned by Maliek Collins—is where he's said "it all starts".
Collins recently spoke with Texans Radio and was asked about what it meant to be called the defense's engine. He quickly joked "It means I've got to come in in shape so I can go," and then explained his role.
"I've got to be the same guy every day," Collins said. "I've got to be consistent. If something's off, I've got to be the one that gets it back on track. That's just the standard I put on myself."
After each training camp practice in 2021, Collins would stay after and do extra drills. And each day, there was a younger Texan seeking him out, asking for advice, and going through those drills with Collins. The veteran lineman wound up with an interception, a forced fumble, 2.5 sacks and 29 tackles last autumn. His leadership was evident early on, and Collins was a free agent this offseason. It was important to Smith to bring Collins back in 2022.
"He's an excellent football player," Smith said. "He fits the profile. He's athletic. I think Maliek was just at the tip of the iceberg on what we can be. There's so much more that he'll be able to do going forward."
In turn, Collins appreciates having a head coach who understands his importance to the defense.
"It's different when you play for a coach that really values what you do as a front," Collins said. "He values the defensive front so much and understands what we're supposed to do, how we're supposed to disrupt. Being a 3-technique, and the demand of what I have to do, Lovie understands that. That's something that I value."
Collins and the Texans begin training camp on Friday, July 29 at the Houston Methodist Training Center. Eight practices will be open to fans.
Check out some photos from the Texans practice on June 7 + the Texans Legends that stopped by to watch OTAs.