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Once a respected opponent, Denico Autry is now a Texan


The first day of the legal tampering free agency seemed to crawl along until the Texans made some noise with a potential signing. I honestly didn't believe the news when I heard it because I had been highlighting this particular defender for YEARS as an opponent.

DL star Denico Autry was about to become a Texan. I mean, what?!?

I immediately started posting about how happy I was that Autry had finally joined the good guys. Autry moved from Oakland to Indianapolis in 2018 and he immediately had my attention. When the Texans faced the Colts in December 2018 at NRG Stadium, I knew one of the Keys to the Game was slowing Autry after he had 2.0 sacks in the first matchup at Indy.

Find a way to control Denico Autry. He had a BRILLIANT game against the Jaguars (three sacks and two forced fumbles). Must occupy him all the way through the whistle. He never stops coming.

He had 2.0 sacks in that matchup as well, giving him 4.0 sacks in two regular season games against the Texans in 2018. As a result, I was still worried about Autry a few weeks later as we prepared to face the Colts in the 2018 Wild Card matchup at NRG.

Find a way to control Denico Autry and Margus Hunt. Those two jump into the A gaps together and penetrate straight up field. They're relentless to the ball so they're difficult to block all the way to the whistle and that's a problem.

Autry then went to hated Tennessee in 2020 and he continued to wreak havoc on the Texans. So, as we prepared for the Titans for the Week 18 finale of the 2021 season, I gave the ultimate compliment to Autry

The Best in the League - If you would've been able to convince me in the offseason that the Titans defense would feature the best defensive front in the league in 2021, I'd have told you that the Titans would be a Super Bowl contender. Honestly, I didn't think they had that in them in 2021. I did think DL Jeffery Simmons was, and is, an absolute DUDE and I've always thought Denico Autry was the most underrated player in the AFC South.

The very next year, week 8 of 2022 at NRG Stadium, I had a similar thought as the Texans got ready to face the Titans in early November.

The Best DL in the League (I just realized that I used the same title two years in a row, dadgum it!) - When it was announced that Pro Bowl OLB Harold Landry injured his knee and was going to miss the entire 2022 season, it didn't even faze me in the slightest. I mean, yeah, he's a great player and the Titans were going to miss him, but what I mean is that the Titans defensive line was going to be great with, or without, Landry. He gave them twitch off the edge, but the heart and soul of that line and the freakish athlete in that group were still there. The heart and soul are stud DT Jeffery Simmons and versatile DL weapon Denico Autry, and those two have gotten a major boost from interior wrecker Teair Tart in 2022. 

The Texans got it handed to them that day unfortunately because of that defensive front, featuring Autry. Fast forward to week 17 of the 2023 season and I was still worried about Autry after he sacked QB Case Keenum twice in the week 15 matchup in Nashville.

The Major Key - With Simmons now on IR, missing both games against the Texans, the key to moving the ball against the Titans is to slow down three players - Arden Key, Denico Autry and Harold Landry III. 

So, when the news came down that Autry was joining the Texans, these Keys I wrote back in the day came flashing back in my mind. Every time I wrote about Autry I wished that he could be somewhere else.

He is now. 

He's home…in Houston.

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