Houston Texans inside linebacker Zach Cunningham had a satisfactory conclusion to training camp. The former 2017 second-round pick from Vanderbilt signed a four-year contract extension worth $14.5 million annually.
However, his start to the 2020 regular season was pedestrian. Cunningham had seven tackles against the Kansas City Chiefs, but two missed tackles in the 34-20 loss at Arrowhead Stadium. Cunningham was also tagged with a horse collar tackle personal foul and an illegal contact.
It was a forgettable performance, but coach Bill O’Brien expects Cunningham to bounce back against the Baltimore Ravens.
“I think Zach will play better,” O’Brien said. “I think you’ll see improvement. I really believe that. We’ve had a physical practice week. I think that these guys understand now what it takes to be ready to go relative to the speed of the game. Like I said, we’ve had a good week of practice and we need to finish it off here this morning, but we’re excited about the opportunity we have on Sunday.”
Instead of looking at how formidable the task is, Cunningham embraces the opportunity to correct the mistakes and get back in the groove of playing football.
“It’s definitely a good opportunity for us to get back in the flow of things,” said Cunningham. “I definitely think we’re going to have a big improvement coming into this week. I think all the time off that we had kind of played into that.”
The Texans, along with the rest of the league, did not play any preseason games. As a result, not being able to hit other players and bring ball carriers to the ground factored into the tackling issues.
If Cunningham and the Texans get their tackling issues fixed, their defense ought to have a chance to stop the Ravens.