Texans CB Tavierre Thomas says Lovie Smith won’t play cornerbacks who aren’t physical

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Tavierre Thomas played for a variety of defensive coordinators while with the Cleveland Browns from 2018-20, but it wasn’t until he came to the Houston Texans in 2021 that his career started to take off.

The former 2018 undrafted free agent from Ferris State started in eight of 17 games and collected 86 combined tackles, a tackle for loss, a quarterback hit, two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown, a forced fumble, and four pass breakups.

Thomas discovered the secret to getting more playing time under then-defensive coordinator Lovie Smith: be physical.

“We play a lot of cover two so if you’re not tough and don’t want to tackle, he isn’t going to want to play you anyways,” Thomas said. “You got to want to be out there and want to win.”

Smith was promoted to coach following the firing of David Culley and a month-long coaching search. The Tampa 2 is still in place, and Smith will take on an active role as the play-caller.

“If you are not a tough guy and not smart, that’s not in the winning recipe,” said Thomas. “If you just continue to do the things that he’s telling us because he’s been doing it for years and years, so that’s what I bought into. There’s nothing Lovie can tell me on the field or off the field that I’m not going to listen to.”

Although Thomas is a willing disciple of Smith’s, the club may still look to upgrade the cornerback situation with a top-100 pick in the 2022 NFL draft. Nevertheless, whoever the Texans take, the rookie better be willing to play physical.

Said Thomas: “I feel like if everyone bought into how Lovie wants us, then we are going to win a lot of football games because he showed it multiple years that’s what he does.”

Houston’s defense held opposing quarterbacks to a 94.1 passer rating, the 12th-highest in the NFL last year.

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