Ross Blacklock has not had the rookie season he hoped for.
The second-round pick from TCU has provided the Houston Texans with 11 tackles, a tackle for loss, and two quarterback hits in 14 games. The former Fort Bend Elkins product has hardly provided the impact at defensive end the club sought when they looked for a younger replacement for D.J. Reader, who left in free agency for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Interim coach Romeo Crennel believes that even though Blacklock had a forgettable rookie campaign, he can bounce back in the offseason and become a more dynamic player for Houston in 2021.
“I think if he has a good offseason, I mean, a good offseason — when we talk offseason that includes a weight program, strength and conditioning, the OTAs, the individual practice time and then a training camp and then preseason games,” said Crennel. “If he can get all of that done, I think that his ability will begin to show up a lot more.”
Rookie offensive and defensive linemen have one of the harder times adapting to the physical side of the NFL game because of the disparity in strength compounded with the youngsters not having the benefit of a full offseason in an NFL strength and conditioning program.
For Blacklock, some of the issues were also integrating into a new scheme.
Said Crennel: “I think that he’s still learning the system and every system is not the same. Our system, depending on what position you’re playing, sometimes it takes a little bit more discipline to win your gap. Now, other systems, if you can just run up the field, you can win your gap and people are satisfied with that. But the system is built around guys running up the field.
“Our system is not built around guys running up the field. Our system is built around guys winning at the line of scrimmage, and we have to win consistently at the line of scrimmage to give ourselves the best chance.”
Blacklock may also benefit from a new system, given who the Texans hire as their fourth full-time coach.
Published: 2020-12-29 19:02:15
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