Reporting Mike Meltser
Oftentimes, some of the most unheralded players can perform critical roles for top-level NFL teams. For years, it always seemed like Kevin Faulk would make key plays for the Super Bowl Patriots teams. Whenever New England needed something to happen, Faulk would find a way to get it done. The Texans have a number of these types of players: James Casey on offense, Brian Braman on special teams, and Quintin Demps on defense.
Demps returned to the field on Sunday against the Bills and was a co-leader in tackles, with 6. He’s currently playing essentially with casts on each arm. Demps is recovering (more like dealing with) injuries to his forearm and wrist. Not easy to do when you play defensive back in the NFL.
If you study the defenses Wade Phillips like to use, he employs the dime quite a bit. Everyone focuses on the amount of blitzes the Texans run, but pay attention to the large number of defensive backs on the field. As an adjustment to the pass-heavy offenses across the NFL, Wade likes to have Demps and Brice McCain on the field fairly often.
One of the keys to dime defense is having players like Demps be able to step in and seamlessly transition onto the field. If Glover Quin is playing in a linebacker’s spot, then the back end needs a backup safety who can cover and hit. Enter Quintin Demps. Over the last 1.5 years, he’s been a terrific security blanket in the secondary for the Houston defense.
I wouldn’t expect many interceptions the rest of the way (again, remember those two casts), but Demps is the kind of safety who always seems to be around the football. In addition, he is a solid tackler.
The Texans are off to their best start in franchise history, but there’s still half a season to play. Depth plays more and more of a role as time goes along. With some explosive offenses on the way (Bears, Patriots, Lions), we should be thankful that #27 is back healthy and on the field.