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Are the Houston Texans Safe At Safety?

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Taking a look at how the Texans are adjusting to adversity on the back end of their defense.

NFL: Houston Texans-Minicamp Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, we put up a sales pitch for bringing All-Pro safety Earl Thomas to town to bolster the Houston Texans’ defensive backfield. While that plane has long odds of landing in Space City, players already on the roster are doing what they can to step up and fill the big shoes left empty by Andre Hal as he begins life on the sidelines while battling lymphoma.

Third round pick Justin Reid seems to have a leg up on most rookies, thanks in part to Hal and from the mentoring he’s received over the years from his big brother, Eric Reid, former San Francisco 49ers safety.

The Chronicle ran a piece on Reid recently with some nice tidbits:

”Andre (Hal’s) incredible,” Reid said Tuesday after the first day of minicamp. “He’s a mentor to me. I can talk to him any time and ask him any question I want to, and he’s nothing but helpful. He walks me through it, gives me tips and keys on how to play my position better.”

Reid comes from an athletic family. His role model is his father, Eric Sr., an NCAA track champion. Older brother Eric Jr. was an outstanding safety with San Francisco who can’t get a job because he took a knee during the national anthem the last two seasons to protest social injustice.

The Reids are an extremely close family. When Justin played at Stanford, he would go from Palo Alto to Santa Clara, where the 49ers are situated, to visit his brother almost every week.

”Me and Eric talked all the time,” Reid said. “In college I used to go to his house, and we’d break down (49ers’) film. He’d give me the game plan on what they were doing (and) why they were doing certain things.

”He (gave) me tips. He (taught) me offensive philosophy from a NFL standpoint. That way, I (could) come (to the Texans) with the mentality of a third-year veteran rather than that of a rookie. It (was) a little bit of a head start, and he’s been an unbelievable resource for me.”

NFL: Houston Texans-OTA Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

While every promising, potential-filled rookie is billed as the next future Hall of Famer, in the (in)famous words of Bill Parcels, “Potential just means you haven’t done anything yet.” But there’s no doubt Houston coordinator Romeo Crennel will give Reid every chance to succeed.

And from the “where have we heard this before” file, Crennel has a Plan B in place. It seems as though cornerback Kareem Jackson is taking reps almost exclusively at safety during mini-camp.

From Houston Texans.com:

“This spring’s been good for me,” Jackson said. “I’m learning a new position. For me it’s just all about coming out and getting better each and every day.”

Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel has been creative in deploying his players in many different spots. As an example, outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus has lined up over the center, over a tackle, and even gone downfield in coverage.

Jackson’s capable of playing multiple spots as well, and explained the challenge of working some at safety.

“Switching my mind to the things that need to be done when playing that position,” Jackson said. “Whether it’s technique, or making the calls, or trying to put guys in the right spot. Before when I was playing corner, you were waiting to get the call. But now, playing safety you have to give the call.”

Without Andre Hal on the field, Jackson joins Tyrann Mathieu, Justin Reid, Corey Moore, Ibraheim Campbell and Treston Decoud in the mix at safety.

NFL: Houston Texans-Minicamp Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Although I’m still lobbying to get Earl Thomas on the roster, especially now that we know what a great student of the game Justin Reid appears to be, hopefully the Texans will be just fine if E.T. stays in Seattle.