4 objectives DE Jonathan Greenard must prove to Texans in 2022

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The Houston Texans can’t negotiate with defensive end Jonathan Greenard until after the 2022 season. The 2023 offseason will be the earliest the Texans will be able to talk with their former 2020 third-round pick about a second contract.

However, 2022 will be a momentous year for the former Florida product. Greenard can make his case to general manager Nick Caserio and coach Lovie Smith that he is a worthy edge defender and the club ought to continue to invest in his career.

Here are four objectives Greenard will need to show the Texans in 2022 as he rounds to corner into possible contract talks.

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1. Obtain double-digit sacks

texans-jacques-cesaire-jonathan-greenard-incredible-motor
texans-jacques-cesaire-jonathan-greenard-incredible-motor

(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Greenard has done well to increase his sack totals throughout his first two seasons. In 2020 as an outside linebacker, Greenard tallied 1.0 through 13 games. As a down lineman in Smith’s Tampa 2, Greenard led the team with 8.0, the most since 2019 when outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus recorded 7.5. If Greenard can get 10.0 sacks or more, he will establish to defensive coordinators across the NFL he has a penchant for dropping quarterbacks.

2. Play more than 12 games

lovie-smith-defensive-linemen-like-play-texans
lovie-smith-defensive-linemen-like-play-texans

(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

Greenard played 13 games his first season with one start in defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver’s 3-4 scheme. In his second year with Smith deploying a 4-3 front, Greenard started all 12 games. With the league expanding to a 17-game season, 15 games seems reasonable enough. Nevertheless Greenard will have to show he can be counted on for long stretches of a season.

3. Generate double teams

jonathan-greenard-texans-play-more-free-comfortable
jonathan-greenard-texans-play-more-free-comfortable

(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Individual sack totals are a metric that indication production, but what would also help the Texans is if Greenard generated double teams. The more attention that Greenard is able to command, the more opportunities for his teammates to get sacks or make impact plays. The Texans are in desperate need at some level of the defense for a star that opposing offensive coordinators have to include in their game plans.

4. Take ownership of the defense

texans-jonathan-greenard-nfl-underrated-players
texans-jonathan-greenard-nfl-underrated-players

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

When J.J. Watt left, safety Justin Reid took over as a leader of the defense. With Reid gone, the Texans don’t have any identifiable leaders. There is evidence to suggest Greenard is taking ownership of the defensive line as he was one of the defensive linemen who met with new defensive coach Jacques Cesaire immediately when he was hired by Houston.

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