Lovie Smith on linebacker Christian Kirksey: ‘He’s provided great leadership’

With eight games remaining in the Houston Texans’ 2022 campaign, the team is still searching for their second win of the season. While the results of their first nine matchups haven’t gone to plan, the team’s defense is starting to come into its own and may have a masterclass in the works for the coming weeks that could help get the team back on track before the season’s end.

Head coach Lovie Smith talked in detail about the leadership of one defensive player, Christian Kirksey, in comments to the media at the Texans’ Wednesday press conference. He admitted that the defense hasn’t played particularly well in every game to this point in the season, but told reporters that with Kirksey in a key role in both the locker room and on the field, the unit is trending up following their loss to the New York Giants in Week 10.

“I think defensively as a whole we haven’t played as well as we need to, and Christian [Kirksey] has been a part of that,” Smith explained. “Last couple games, I think you can see him trending in the right direction too. He’s provided great leadership. All those things you expect from a captain is exactly who he is. Just what we’re looking for defensively, not just Christian, everybody. One area is more possessions. We haven’t taken the ball away. I know it’s been documented how we play the run, and we haven’t taken the ball away. All of us are a part of that. There’s a reason why Christian leads our defense still. I think he’s been great for Christian Harris also, veteran presence that is showing him exactly how to do it.”

Kirksey’s mentorship of Harris is a key development that hasn’t been talked about enough by the media since the rookie’s debut a few weeks back. Harris is a hard-hitting playmaker at the linebacker position who could become one of Houston’s most valuable assets in the future with continued tutelage by a veteran like Kirksey on a week-to-week basis.

Time will tell if this Texans’ defense can step up to ensure Houston another win with a shutout performance over the next eight games, but for the time being, the team is in good hands with Kirksey overseeing the development of players on his side of the ball.

Story originally appeared on Texans Wire