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Next Man Up: Tyrell Adams, Charles Omenihu Stepping Into Spotlight

With J.J. Watt leading the way, young Texans defenders are rising to the occasion.

New England Patriots v Houston Texans Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

When you think Houston Texans’ defense, one name immediately comes to mind: J.J. Watt. After that, maybe Justin Reid, Whitney Mercilus, or players no longer on the roster, like Jadeveon Clowney or D.J. Reader. Two players looking to force their names into the conversation are Tyrell Adams and Charles Omenihu.

Adams has quietly had one of the best seasons for any Houston defender, falling into third place behind Zach Cunningham and Justin Reid for the third most tackles (62 combined, 32 solo) while Omenihu has two sacks, tied for third on the team with Jacob Martin but behind Mercilus and Cunningham (tied with three each) and Watt with four.

After starting inside linebacker Benardrick McKinney went down with a season-ending injury, Adams stepped in. Interim head coach Romeo Crennel recently had this to say.

When you lose a really good player it’s hard to replace right away. We’re going to have to make an adjustment right away. T-A, Tyrell Adams, he stepped in and did a nice job Sunday. He was running around making plays.

Not one to leave a compliment un-repaid, Adams responded this week.

[Crennel’s] just positivity. He’s always trying to make a joke. Always trying to make us smile. Keep us uplifted. Keep us into the game. Keep us with everything that’s going on, despite the circumstances, he still keeps a positive attitude. We really appreciate him for that.

It’s well known that negative reinforcement won’t get you to the promised land as a leader (see Bill O’Brien), but the near constant with Romeo Crennel is how players praise him for believing in them and remaining positive no matter what happens. Here’s what the Texans’ interim head coach had to say about Charles Omenihu.

The thing about Charles, he hasn’t played quite as much because we rotated him in a little bit and some of that depends on what defensive group we have in the game. Then some of it depends on how he plays, how he’s been playing. Early on, I talked to you guys about not doing the things we need to do on a consistent basis. Well, sometimes if you don’t do things consistently the way we need them done, then we don’t give you as many opportunities.

I think Charles has kind of figured out what we need done, how we need it done. So, I think that we’re going to see him more and he will continue to have that impact on a quarterback whether it’s hits or hopefully - I know for him - he wants to get the guy on the ground. So, he’s going to be working to do that.

Both guys will have a chance to rise up on the national stage tomorrow when your Houston Texans face the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day. Who do you think will have a bigger impact?