Texans DC Lovie Smith says they need ‘all hands on deck’ along the defensive line

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The Houston Texans took a hit to their interior defensive line during the 37-21 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1 at NRG Stadium.

Vincent Taylor sustained an ankle injury that could keep him out for a maximum of eight weeks. The Texans subsequently placed him on injured reserve.

“Vincent Taylor was playing very good football,” defensive coordinator Lovie Smith said. “He’s a force inside at our nose guard position, especially against the run.”

The Texans like what they have on the roster in sixth-round rookie Roy Lopez, second-year defensive tackle Ross Blacklock, and veteran Maliek Collins.

However, the Texans’ Tampa 2 scheme is predicated on a defensive line rotation, which is why Houston signed defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson off the New Orleans Saints’ practice squad. The former Minnesota Vikings 2017 fourth-round pick spent training camp and the preseason with the Texans and figured to be a part of the defensive line rotation.

Johnson was caught up in the numbers game, and ended up in New Orleans.

“Jaleel Johnson played good football for us,” said Smith. “It was a tough decision on who we even kept. So, for him to be able to come back, we’ll need all hands on deck defensive line wise.”

The Texans have quite the challenge on their hands as they take on the Cleveland Browns Sunday at 12:00 p.m. Central Time at FirstEnergy Stadium. Cleveland’s offense features a two-headed attack with Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb. Stopping either back, if they were the feature back alone, would be an immense task. Houston will have to curtail both.

“We’ll need eight plus guys, defensive line man, to be able to hold down the run and get a pass rush this week to,” Smith said.

If the Texans stop the run as part of a winning formula, it would give Houston its first 2-0 start since 2016.