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Closer Look: What The Signing of Ufomba Kamalu Means for the Houston Texans Defense

The Houston Texans added Ufomab Kamalu to the 53-man roster and that will allow the defense to get back to its roots.

The Houston Texans have signed rookie defensive end Ufomba Kamalu to the 53-man roster in preparation for the loss of John Simon who will miss some time with what the team is calling a chest injury. Kamalu is an imposing figure who fits into the 3-4 mold of defensive end and also adds some pass rush ability to the front. 

What does it mean for the rest of the defense?

The addition of Kamalu led to the Texans waiving Brandon Dunn from the 53-man roster for the second time this season. Dunn is more of a defensive tackle in four man fronts and would have been used in a pinch at defensive end and nose tackle in the Texans base 3-4 front. 

Kamalu (6'6", 295 lbs.) gives the Texans the specific body type they want at the defensive end spot and adds another pass rusher, an athletic upgrade over Dunn. With 8.5 sacks at Miami over his career, Kamalu has to fill the void being left by Simon to heat up the quarterback in sub packages.

The Texans currently sit 21st in the NFL, giving up 111.6 rushing yards per game, despite holding opponents to only 56 yards per contest on average over the past three games. The previous 7 games, the Texans gave up 135.4 yards per game. 

The addition of Kamalu will more than likely cause Jadeveon Clowney to go back to outside linebacker in base defense and will not change much for him in nickel and dime four man fronts. Clowney has been working well this season but him moving from the end spot in base defense could be a good thing for the unit. Clowney moved back to outside linebacker on Monday Night football after Simon went out with his chest injury and, with no other outside linebackers, currently on the roster, this move appears to be in the cards. 

More times than not, Clowney lined up qs a one gap player which created added pressure for linebackers and the defensive line to protect against him when he was aggressive. This is something the Texans had to learn with J.J. Watt: when he was allowed to play aggressively, they would have other players around him play sound, fundamental defense to cover up creases left, and the same has been happening with Clowney. With the amount of splash plays Clowney made in the run game including 12 tackles for loss (2nd in the NFL), the Texans have struggled versus the run. 

Jadeveon Clowney's Tackles For Loss From Alignment (12 total) 
  • 8 in nickel and dime (4 man front, defensive end)
  • 1 in 4-3 under front (defensive end)
  • 1 in 3-4 base (5 tech) 
  • 2 in goal line sets (5 tech) 

Now, if Clowney does indeed move back to outside linebacker in base defense, the Texans front will be able to go back to their roots which is a two gap scheme, playing fundamental football. That alone sets up the defense to be sound up front and not deviate what they do up front in sub-packages, allowing both Whitney Mercilus and Clowney to move around the front, not giving the offense similar looks to set up protections.

The addition of Kamalu will more than likely change minor things for the base defense but it could be a plus in the run defense going back to their fundamental base as a 3-4 defense. 

Related Stories: Texans Notebook: Raiders, Refs and Lasers Texans and J.J. Watt Eyeing 2017 | John Simon Expected to Miss Time  | Osweiler and O'Brien Continue to Forge Their Relationship | Texans Sign Ufomba Kamalu 

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