Whitney Mercilus kicked off his 2016 season with AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors and finished with 6.0 sacks in the postseason.
The Texans starting outside linebacker still arrived for his sixth NFL training camp with a to-do list on how to improve for the upcoming season.
"Every year," Mercilus said. "Get better individually, make more plays on the quarterback, make more plays on the ball, things like that, and just be more of a student of the game as well."
Mercilus admits he was "at one point, deer in the headlights" early in his career during camp. Now, he's evolved into an elite pass rusher that was one of the leaders of the Texans No. 1 ranked defense in 2016.
This year, the Texans defense has the potential to be even better.
J.J. Watt returns after nearly a year-long absence following back surgery. Jadeveon Clowney, on the heels of a breakout season that included a Pro Bowl nod, has settled into his starting defensive end role. With Clowney and Watt together again, Mercilus is even more excited about the possibilities for Houston's defense.
"I think it's awesome, of course," Mercilus said. "We got a lot of guys out there that are very versatile. We can give a whole lot of different matchups, load one side or have guys dropping, rushing, things like that. I think it's going to be special but we've got to be able to do it again this year."
The Texans continue with Day 3 of training camp at The Greenbrier Sports Performance Center on Friday.
Check out photos from the second day of #TexansCamp practice at The Greenbrier in West Virginia.