By Cody Stoots

HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – Linebackers coach Mike Vrabel is a star on Hard Knocks, but for as entertaining as he is on the one hour show he provides the Texans so much more.

Vrabel is modest when talking about the linebackers, instead heaping praise on his group of players.

“I got a great group of guys,” he said. “I think they love football. Brian (Cushing) is our leader, plays hard, plays his tail off, studies, it’s important to him. He’s a great teammate. Whitney (Mercilus) busts his butt every day. John Simon, Mike Mohamed, pretty much every guy we’ve got in there.”

A great group that could be getting better with Jadeveon Clowney’s return.

Vrabel said Clowney is progressing “to plan” and that they are trying to stay on the plan set by the staff for him.

The attitude for the 2014 number one overall pick is better this year than last.

“I mean you get hurt in this league as a young player, it’s hard to handle.

“You’ve never really been injured, but everybody gets hurt in this sport, and I think he’s starting to realize that he’s going to have to play with a little bit of discomfort, he’s going to be sore, for the rest of his career.”

Vrabel of course has a little extra cache with his players, he is a three-time champion with the Patriots as a part of that vaunted linebacking corps.

He thinks his been there, done that experience helps translate.

 

“Well I mean I think anytime a coach can show players a way to make them better,” he said, “I think they’re going to listen, they’re going to buy in. So when they see results, I think they tend to listen a little bit, and if they don’t see results, they’re going to start blocking you out.”

It doesn’t always translate though. Plenty of star players can’t coach as well as Vrabel. He said there’s a clear advantage he has over some coaches prior to their NFL opportunity.

“I think I was at the college level for a couple years and that helped. You don’t have as much time in the meetings, so you have to get the material across maybe a little quicker, you’ve got to narrow it down.”

Despite mixing it up physically with his players during drills and not looking too different than his playing days, Vrabel isn’t itching for anything more.

As far as members of the team teasing him about seeming like he could get out there still, Vrabel says no chance.

“I’m 40 years old. I just turned 40, and if I could I still would, but I can’t.”

Follow Stoots on Twitter – @Cody_Stoots

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