Texans coach Lovie Smith ‘anxious’ to see how DE Jonathan Greenard progresses

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The Houston Texans are counting on Jonathan Greenard to excel in 2022.

The former 2020 third-round defensive end from Florida has flashed potential as an edge defender. Greenard tallied 8.0 sacks in 2021, the most by a Texans defense since outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus’ 7.5 in 2019. The intriguing aspect was Greenard was limited with just 12 games, all starts, logged in 2021.

“You know, eight sacks last year in limited action — Jonathan is a legitimate outside defensive end in the league,” coach Lovie Smith told reporters on July 30 at Houston Methodist Training Center on the second day of training camp. “I’m anxious to see how far he can go.”

Greenard is recovering from offseason foot surgery. Nevertheless the 6-3, 263-pounder has been rehabilitating to get back onto the field. Greenard was not on the physically unable perform list to start training camp, and the Texans have been slowly ramping him up for full action.

“Being banged up and missing a lot of the offseason work put him behind a little bit, but you see we’ll continue to give him more and more reps,” said Smith. “He’s a big part have we’re going to do this year.”

If Greenard has a big season, he can figure to be a big part of what the Texans are doing long-term. The 25-year-old is in the penultimate year of his contract, but can start negotiating with the team starting in the 2023 offseason. Should Greenard have a double-digit sack season or make the Pro Bowl, it will give him leverage to have general manager Nick Caserio consider him a staple for Houston’s defense.

Story originally appeared on Texans Wire