Texans release DE Whitney Mercilus

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The Houston Texans are releasing one of their last holdovers from the Gary Kubiak era in defensive end Whitney Mercilus.

According to Aaron Wilson of Sports Talk 790, the Texans are going to release their former 2012 first-round pick as the club seeks to go with a youth movement along the edge defense.

Defensive end Lovie Smith told reporters on Oct. 7 that they liked what Mercilus was doing and that they were focusing on him rushing the passer.

“Whitney’s been a good pass rusher for a long period of time,” said Smith. “He’s playing the pass, his numbers say that. That’s the case right now.”

Mercilus had played as an outside linebacker from 2012-20. This season was his first as a down lineman in the Texans’ new Tampa 2 scheme.

The adjustment to playing with a hand in the dirt was different for Mercilus.

Said Mercilus on Sept. 21: “It’s been a little different, I’ll tell you that. Because now it’s like my keys are shortened down to just reading tackles and tight ends and pre-snap reads, so I can’t see anything that’s post-snap or when motions happen, stuff like that, to get a beat on what might happen, things like that. It’s just reading my keys more so and locking in on that, and just letting instinct take over.”

The former Illinois product gathered 12 combined tackles, 3.0 sacks, four tackles for loss, and three quarterback hits through six games, two of which he started.





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