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Stinging in Silence: Texans second-year CB quietly piecing together solid campaign


Derek Stingley Jr. carries himself with a silent self-confidence. 

The second-year cornerback doesn't say much. Whether he just reeled in two interceptions in one game – like he did against Denver in Week 13 – or just limited Browns top receiver Amari Cooper to just 59 yards on four catches in an AFC Wild Card Round Playoff game, his demeanor is the same. 

"You don't have to talk much when your tape does the talking for you," Texans coach DeMeco Ryans said. "There's not much to say. You don't have to be a trash talker or anything. He just goes and plays the game the right way." 

After missing six games this season due to injury, Stingley came back with force in the Texans secondary in early December. 

From Week 11 to Week 13, Stingley pieced together one of the best runs in the NFL. He reeled in four interceptions and registered eight pass deflections in the three-game span against the Cardinals, Jaguars and Broncos.

For the season, Stingley has five interceptions, 14 pass deflections and 41 tackles entering the AFC Divisional Round. His best year of football since his freshman year at LSU. 

"He's been playing with great technique, great fundamentals, eyes, attacking the football," Ryans said. "He's been doing everything that we asked him to do." 

But the success Stingley has had isn't thanks to pure luck, but due to his hard work, which started back in February. 

That's when Ryans was first impressed by him and has continued to ever since. 

"When I first got the job here, he was one of the guys who was here working," he said. "When it's quiet in February, he was the one guy who was here putting in work with our strength and conditioning staff, and he was putting himself in position to have a really good season. 

"Throughout the entire year, what's impressed me is just his confidence and his playmaking ability continues to shine … He's truly gotten better and shown why he was drafted where he was drafted because he's a top talent in the NFL and he's proven that over these past few weeks. He's proven that he's a top corner in this league."