After the Texans drafted Arizona outside linebacker Brooks Reed in the second round, Texans linebackers coach Reggie Herring spoke to the media about the pick.
Texans linebackers coach Reggie Herring(on whether he expects a nonstop motor from Brooks Reed) "I think it's pretty much his trademark. What we saw in Brooks Reed and in trying to make the transition from a 4-3 to a 3-4, you have to start with your front. There are some changes that need to be made. What he does is gives us somebody that has exceptional play strength, exceptional play speed. He's a mature, physical player at this level right now. In the NFL transition from college, play strength and play speed is probably the biggest adjustment. What he possesses right now, along with the fact of what you mentioned with a great motor and great work ethic, he gives you a chance early to make that transition.
"As we build this defense from a 4-3 and transition to a 3-4, with the taking of (DE J.J.) Watt inside and now Brooks Reed, who we thought was the next best available outside backer prospect, we really feel, along with the nucleus we have here, that we have a tremendous amount of young up and coming talent that has speed. You have speed all over the field. Brooks Reed is 263 pounds and runs a 4.6. There aren't many 'backer types like that out there. (Akeem) Ayers got taken in front of him and he's about two tenths faster than Ayers and about 10 pounds heavier.
"When you talk about Brooks Reed, you need to talk about his get-off and ten yards. He was faster than Von Miller at the combine for the first 10 yards. The first 10 yards in this game is what makes or breaks you off the edge. He has incredible get off, incredible twitch and burst. Once again, I'll say this, his tenacity, his play speed, his play strength—he carries himself like a pro. To make this transition and to make it quick, a kind of not now right now mentality, that's what we've got to have out of the guys we take and we see it with both of these guys. We're very excited about the future."
(on whether having short arms is on their list of concerns for guys like Reed) "I think every player has holes in them when you look and evaluate players. When you call holes, we say that everybody has a little something that makes them not the perfect type in that position. I would say that the first thing I would tell him on day one when he comes in the meeting is, 'You win with your feet and son, you've got the fastest feet in this draft, and you win with your feet.' Your feet put you into position to win battles in the front and he has as quick of feet as anybody in this draft. When you look at some of the corners' times in the first 10 yards, he's faster than some of the corners in the first 10 yards. That's what separates him from average.
"The arm length is, if you were going to say a negative for him, yeah, his arms are not as long as somebody else. Two inches. The arm length comes in as an advantage, as a perk. If you have long arms, that helps you on the pass rush. Now, it all starts with the get-off when coaching outside 'backers and presenting pressure on the quarterback. It's all about the get-off and presenting anxiety within an offensive tackle and when you've got the get off and the speed that he has, he can compensate for his lack of arm length by making that guy over setting or overreaching, worried about getting beat around the edge.
"It goes back to Von Miller. When you look at him and I refer to him because he's exceptional and he was the gauge going into this things. Measurable-wise, with the exception of Von Miller's 4.4 which was just faster than everybody, there's not much difference in the arm length and things of that nature. That's something that I think he has his other attributes that will compensate for that.
"That's not going to keep him from playing on a tight end for us in our SAM position, shocking a tight end, releasing. He's very strong at the point of attack. Half the battle is the mental (aspect). This guy, what he brings to this defense now, is you want to complement a (LB Brian) Cushing, a (LB) DeMeco Ryans, an (DE) Antonio Smith and I'm talking about a get-after-it attitude. That's what Watt and Reed bring to the table. They bring you locker room presence day one. They bring you practice presence day one. They bring you intensity, into the meeting room and onto the practice field. They will set the stage. They are the type of guys who are not going to look around to see who to follow. They're going to lead. That's the intangible parts and the things that they bring extra to the table for this defense.
"That's what, to me, is what is exciting, when you surround these young guys that we're taking with a Cushing, a DeMeco, a Connor Barwin, a young Connor Barwin. You throw in all the guys. You throw in (DE) Mario Williams, who I had when he was a sophomore (at North Carolina State) and he still looks the same. He still has a baby smile on his face. He's a big baby.
"At the end of the day, it's all in front of us right now. We started building this foundation by getting a defensive end. We were thrilled to death that this guy was there at our pick. We can't be happier defensively. We've got other holes to fill and that's why they have other draft rounds and things of that nature."
(on how LB Connor Barwin fits in with Brooks Reed) "Oh man. You talk about exciting. When you make a transformation from a 4-3 to a 3-4, it's dramatic now. The outside 'backer position is totally different than defensive end even though they'll be dropped to defensive end on third downs and rush. At the end of the day, a Connor Barwin, who I liked when I was at Dallas, the upside and potential that he has, the speed off the edge with the length and the height and the range, he's oozing with potential and things that hopefully we'll get to a point that y'all haven't seen yet out of him. He's still a puppy in my eyes. He's still a rookie to me.
"With him on the outside with his speed and burst and you've got this guy on the other side with speed and a twitch, it gives us multiple things to do with Mario (Williams). Y'all haven't even asked the question yet, but at the end of the day, it gives us flexibility and I'll go ahead and address it. It gives you potential moves within your own core system, which we didn't have when we first got here three months ago. This is a great start for our foundation in our 3-4. When you throw in the other pieces that we already have, you've got a lot of young, speed, anxious, hungry football players that can't wait to get to work. This is a good start for us. Those two guys outside is a good start."
(on how many linebackers are needed on game day) "Great question. Excellent question. Guys, when we go into a game, we want to have three inside (linebackers) and three outside. When you start in this league on defense, you want to stop the run, and that's what we'll preach day one. That's building in-house toughness and that starts day one with stopping the run. Then you have to pressure the quarterback. To be in a 3-4, you've got to have three guys to rotate to play at a very high level of expectations. We go into the game with three outside rotating and we've got three inside rotating to finish the game. This is a good start."
(on if he envisions Brooks Reed as a starter right away) "I think day one when he comes in, we're expecting him to play. Whether he's a starter or not, that'll be up to him. Same thing we've told Connor Barwin and the rest of them, at the end of the day, it's going to be competitive and we just got extra competitive because the competition level will be raised around here and that makes for more consistency and better players and more effective production out of all of them. I hate all that predicting and coming in and being a starter. I would say that he has a chance to be one just as fast as anyone else because of his maturity, physical and mental play strength and play speed, like I said at the beginning of the meeting, is to me already pro-like, as well as his approach to the game. That's why I think he'll play early and right now for us."