Nov 13, 2022; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) is sandwiched between Houston Texans defensive tackle Maliek Collins (96) and linebacker Christian Kirksey (58) during the first half of a gam at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Texans DL Maliek Collins has been difference maker since return from injury
Houston Texans defensive line coach Jacques Cesaire lauded both Collins’ play and his leadership Thursday.
Since returning from a chest injury on Nov. 13, Texans defensive lineman Maliek Collins has not only improved his own play but helped lead the charge for the improved play of the defensive line as a whole. In those five games, Collins has recorded 2½ sacks and five stuffs.
Collins, who was injured by a hit from a teammate against the Raiders in Las Vegas, has mentioned that he feels he found his niche in the defense during the two games he missed. His coach noted his resurgent play.
“I don’t know, but I want him to keep finding that perspective. He’s been playing outstanding. This is probably the best ball I’ve seen him play in a long time — just the way he’s penetrating right now. The three-technique is one of the most important parts of our defense. The things that he does out there, you can just tell the difference in the run game and the pass.”
Cesaire explained Collins has been very consistent.
“I just know that when he’s in there, he does exactly what we need him to do, play-by-play. To have a guy like that, a solid rock in the middle of your defense, along with Roy (Lopez), Kurt (Hinish), Book (Thomas Booker), Taylor (Stallworth) as of lately. It’s just really good.”
Collins has been more than a good performer for the Texans on the field. He has been a leader off the field too. Cesaire appreciates Maliek’s contributions in the film room, on the sideline, as a contributor of ideas.
“His leadership. He’s a leader in the room. He’s a leader on the field. He helps me out a lot. We constantly talk and collaborate all the time. We bounce ideas off each other. He comes up, we talk pass rush, we talk games, we talk everything. He’s just a guy that you sleep well at night knowing he’s on your side.”
Cesaire expressed how Collins brings what he has seen in the game and on film to the practice field.
“We’ll go out to practice, and we’ll talk about something from the system that we both like. He’ll say something, ‘hey, did you see when the guy did this? Maybe we can get this on him. That’s a good idea; let’s take a look at it. Let’s practice it and see how it looks on tape, and then we’ll go from there.’ It’s just collaboration right there. I always tell the guys I don’t work for them; I work with them. It’s about a collaboration without ego. I’m not sitting there saying, ‘[stern yelling].’ They have great ideas. I have great ideas. We mesh them together, and we go out and play football.”