Derek Newton almost seemed overwhelmed by the compliments his coach and teammates have been showering upon him.

“It’s great, but I just have to keep working, being coachable,” Newton said after a short pause when being asked what Head Coach Bill O’Brien’s compliments meant to him. “Coming in and putting in the extra work, watching extra film and taking it to the practice field.”

O’Brien commented this week that if something were to happen to Duane Brown, Newton would move to left tackle and Tyson Clabo to the right side of the line.

Newton was visibly moved by the question, but it is not just O’Brien who has noticed his marked improvement. Teammates have made it a point this week to point out that the 7th round pick out of Arkansas State finally has the ins and outs of the NFL down.

Texans center Chris Myers said Thursday, “I think Derek’s improvement has been unbelievable. I think what he’s been doing speaks for itself. I said it since day one when (he) walked in the door, I think he’s a talented player. He’s got tremendous versatility. For a guy that big to move as quick as he does and have the work ethic that he has is a testament to himself.”

“I think it just takes time. The more you do it; film, practice and playing in Sundays, it all comes together and it seems more easier. You’ve just got to keep putting in the work,” Newton responded when asked if everything seemed to click at once or if it was a gradual progression. Newton was also quick to point out that his teammates deserved much of the credit for his progress, not only this season, but his entire time in the NFL. He also echoed a continuing theme throughout the Texans’ locker room of being open to coaching and willing to ask teammates for help.

Whatever the formula, it’s working. Newton has been effective in both run blocking and pass protection. Most importantly, he is playing a big role in keeping Ryan Fitzpatrick upright. Fitzpatrick has yet to be sacked in the young 2014 season and Newton is confident that the game plan can keep it that way.

Follow Leslie on Twitter @LK_Comm.


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