Whitney Mercilus explains "biggest thing" facing Texans

Whitney Mercilus is ready.

The outside linebacker missed the bulk of August because of a leg injury, but he's set to play on Sunday in New England against the Patriots.

Despite the time away, the 7-year veteran's not worried about whether he'll be able to fall back in with the rest of his defensive teammates.

"I've just been keeping my mind sharp in the meeting rooms, seeing what the guys are doing, just emulating that and then doing whatever I can on the field as I've been doing my rehab and all of that," Mercilus said Monday before practice. "I don't think I've dropped off."

A chest injury ended his season in Week 5 of 2017. He's one of many pieces coming back to a defense that will look to be a strength in 2018.

"We've had time together since The Greenbrier, since training camp," Mercilus said. "Now, it's time to really go. We know what the guys can do. We just have to be on the same page. The biggest thing is just communication."

Including the playoffs, Mercilus has been on the field seven times against the Patriots. He's dropped Tom Brady for a sack 4.5 times, including a strip-sack last year that Jadeveon Clowney recovered and returned for a 22-yard touchdown. Mercilus explained what must happen for the Texans to pick up a win, which would be the first in eight tries against New England for him, and only the second time in franchise history.

"We've just got to play sound football all the way through," Mercilus said. "Protect the ball on offense. Make plays on defense. Stop the run."

Mercilus and the Texans will practice Wednesday through Friday at the Houston Methodist Training Center.

The Houston Texans roster in photos. (Updated 3/2/2021)

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