Texans DE Whitney Mercilus says last two games have boosted confidence

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There was a great deal of ambiguity that surrounded the Houston Texans entering 2021, and with uncertainty always comes negativity.

While the Texans say they have been tuning out the noise, even the lack of a frame of reference to past success can generate doubts.

Through the first two games of the regular season, the Texans have produced a 1-1 record, but there is much more to it defensively. Houston has generated five takeaways, more than half of what they did with nine through 16 games last season. The run defense is getting better at 4.6 yards per carry, tied with the Seattle Seahawks for the 10th-most in the NFL. Nevertheless, it is a decline from 5.2 last year, which was the worst in the league.

Defensive end Whitney Mercilus says that the defense has started to believe more in their abilities.

“Confidence got boosted, especially because we know we’ve got a solid team around us,” Mercilus said. “If we just do our job, take care of the football, take away the football, things like that, play complementary football, as well, too, we’ve got a good chance as far as winning a lot of games if we just do that.”

In a manner of speaking, the Texans had a decent chance to start 2-0 when they played the Cleveland Browns in Week 2 on the road at FirstEnergy Stadium. If not for the rash of injuries throughout the game, one of which knocked out starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor with a hamstring injury, the Texans may have prevailed. The game was tied 14-14 at halftime when rookie Davis Mills had to spell Taylor for his first ever NFL action. Who knows what Mills could do with a whole week taking first-team snaps?

Mercilus believes the Texans will be able to find ways to win in 2021.

Said Mercilus: “I’m very confident in this team. I’m very confident in every player that we have. A lot of good guys who have seen a lot of football, played a lot of football in different places and seen a lot of things, experienced a lot of things, as well, too, that can really come together and create a ‘hellified’ culture here, and to go out there and win games on Sundays.”

Houston is looking for a game to win on Thursday night as they host the Carolina Panthers for Week 3 at NRG Stadium.