The Houston Texans have one of the NFL’s best defenses. And Benardrick McKinney is right in the middle of it. The linebacker loves his job and through two games of the 2017 Season he’s been really good at it, racking up 17 tackles and two sacks. However, McKinney told The Jim Rome Show on CBS Sports Radio it’s a lot easier to be good at your job when you play with some of the most talented defensive players in all of football.
“We have a lot of great pass rushers, the offensive line has trouble trying to block guys like Whit (Whitney Mercilus), J.J. (Watt), and (Jadeveon) Clowney,” McKinney explained on Thursday. “They call me the clean-up man. So they get inside the pocket and try to cause a lot havoc and I just play off them, run around, and just try to make the plays I can get, pickup what they’ve left off.”
It didn’t come easy. This offseason, McKinney committed himself to improving his game, focusing on the skills needed to become a more complete player in 2017.
“Get stronger, trying to work on getting off blocks faster,” McKinney said. “So I can have a better chance of covering the running back or whomever I’m covering.”
While the Texans struggled offensively last week against Cincinnati, they got the win thanks to the defense and first-round draft pick Deshaun Watson’s spectacular 49-yard touchdown run. In his first start, the rookie’s big play proved to be the difference in their 13-9 win.
“We knew in college he was a great athlete, makes a lot of plays,” McKinney said of Watson. “Seeing it in person, when we were playing the Bengals, I was like ‘oh crap’ the whole time.”