The Houston Texans took a big hit to their edge defense heading into Week 9.
Outside linebacker Jacob Martin tested positive for COVID-19, and contact tracing took out fellow outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus. Then, amid the 27-25 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Nov. 8, outside linebacker Brennan Scarlett broke his arm.
Defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver had to rely on third-round rookie Jonathan Greenard more, and he saw 57 defensive snaps with three combined tackles.
In Week 10’s 10-7 loss at the Cleveland Browns, the Texans got Mercilus back, but Scarlett was done for the year and Martin was still coming out of quarantine. The defense had to rely on the rookie yet again, and he added another three combined tackles on just 23 snaps.
Greenard, who had battled a hamstring injury the first three weeks of the season and finally saw action on special teams starting in Week 4, was ready for the moment because of his constant preparation.
“I kind of didn’t look at it any different,” Greenard said of the increased playing time. “I’ve prepared pretty much as if I’m ready to go in right now and have to play the entire game. So, when they told me, it was an unfortunate situation, but at this point I just kind of have to step up and make sure there was no drop off, make sure I did my job and make sure I did what I could to make sure we got the victory.
“Unfortunate circumstances but pretty much how we prepared and how our whole group as an OLB group prepares. We all could be thrown in there at any given point and make something happen.”
Greenard will get another chance to gain more experience at the pro level as the Texans take on the New England Patriots Sunday at 12:00 p.m. CT at NRG Stadium for a Week 11 showdown.