Houston (CBS Houston) – As J.J. Watt nurses himself back to health, and with his season opener in jeopardy, Christian Covington wants to prove his worth amongst the defensive linemen.
“It’s really just next man up. At the same time, all it is at the end of the day is just work. That’s my mindset. All I have is work,” Covington said.
The second year pro out of Rice appeared in 15 games last season after being drafted in the sixth round, and now hopes to increase on his playing time anywhere he can.
“I’m here. I’ve been putting in the work this offseason and during OTAs and mini-camp. I’ve been putting in work during these five weeks we’ve had off before we reported,” Covington said, “I’m continuing to try and put in work now. Whatever position they see me playing, whatever role they see me playing, I want to do it to the best of my abilities.”
Last year Covington in his adjustment to the NFL tried to add bulk to play the nose tackle spot in the Texans’ 3-4 defense, but now in an effort to become a more versatile player he decided to trim weight.
“Being at that nose guard position, I naturally have to bulk myself up. Near the midseason I was roughly 320-325. To be able to put in work this offseason and get back down to 300, I wanted to get my quickness back down and my speed back up. That was my main emphasis for this upcoming season,” Covington told the media.
Covington had two sacks last season and thinks that number can increase in his second year in the league, but his focus is to improve in all facets defensively.
“Whether it’s my pass-rushing ability, my run-stopping ability, everything. I just want to be able to be known as a complete player,” Covington said. I don’t want to be known as just a pass rusher. I want to be able to know that when my number’s called I can come in and play every single position. That’s been my goal”
With his rookie year under his belt Covington feels confident heading into his second season in the NFL.
“Obviously you’re going to have those rookie jitters. At the end of the day, football is football. Having that year under my belt truly does make a difference,” Covington added.
Even with the concern of Watt not being ready for the season opener. There are high expectations for the Texans defense entering the 2016 season, and Covington is aware that chances for more playing time comes down to his performance in camp.
“It’s a new season with new opportunities. The game hasn’t changed, the players do. I’m out here just enjoying training camp. We just ended practice number two and we put the pads on tomorrow,” Covington said. So it starts to get real. Other than that, I’m just excited for this opportunity. I’m really looking forward to it.”