Houston Texans: D.J. Reader ready to earn a notable contract extension

Houston Texans nose tackle D.J. Reader (Photo by Scott Varley/MediaNews Group/Torrance Daily Breeze via Getty Images)
Houston Texans nose tackle D.J. Reader (Photo by Scott Varley/MediaNews Group/Torrance Daily Breeze via Getty Images) /

Houston Texans nose tackle D.J. Reader had a significant performance in yesterday’s matchup with the Chargers. He’s ready for a new contract as well. Look.

Houston Texans fans — your team is a winner of two games in a row!  You know what?  That’s called a streak and I’m hopeful that this team is able to continue as they take on the competition in their schedule.

Taking on the Los Angeles Chargers is no easy task but I think most of the team, outside of the secondary, performed well enough to help the team win yesterday’s game.

Deshaun Watson was phenomenal with his high-level of play, thirsty to make the big play while he was shaking defenders off left and right.  Time and again, he continued to find his targets for big gains as well as touchdowns.

This included huge chunks of yardage from Kenny Stills, Darren Fells and Jordan Akins during yesterday’s game.  I continued to wonder what was Akins’ role with the team was going to be as time evolved and it’s clear that he’s an athletic, speedy, blocking tight end that has gotten better at his craft since being drafted last season.

Akins had a pair of touchdowns to his credit against the Chargers yesterday, especially the 53-yard catch Watson where he had nobody close to him as he accelerated beautifully to the end zone to put the team up 27-17 with 9:40 left in the 4th quarter.

After a Ty Long field goal about two and half minutes later, the Houston Texans did everything they could to hold the line and they were successful in doing so.

One of the key components of the pass rush was nose tackle D.J. Reader, who had been quiet on that front as of late.  But with J.J. Watt facing double and triple-teams in some defensive sets, somebody had to step outside of Whitney Mercilus to create some sort of pass rush to pressure Philip Rivers into not being effective.

He did wonderfully yesterday, being able to record 1.5 sacks and three tackles — two assisted — to ensure he did his part in limiting the effectiveness of the Chargers.

After a lackluster game against the New Orleans Saints, Reader has come on strong against the Jacksonville Jaguars; and, of course, against the Chargers.

Although the grades aren’t tabulated yet for Reader from today’s game at the time of this writing, Pro Football Focus has him lined up with an 84.2 defensive, 71.3 run defense, 72.4 tackle, 81.0 pass rush and 60.0 coverage grade through 79 snaps in the first two games.

He also has six pressures — six hurries — to his credit as well.

I’d imagine that these numbers will see an uptick because he had himself a hell of a game yesterday just by watching with my own eyes.

Reader’s defensive grade is currently 10th among interior defensive linemen and his pass-rushing ranks 14th among his counterparts.

That’s pretty damn good and I expect for him to continue to improve on this front.  I’ve been

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excited about since he drafted out of Clemson in the 2016 Draft and this 5th-round pick has proven that he belongs not only on this team but in this league as well.

I think his first season of apprenticeship with the legendary Vince Wilfork really helped him develop into a dominant nose tackle and I feel the sky is the limit.

It’s also a contract year for Reader — he’s on his final season of rookie deal paying him a base of $2.1 million — who is going to do everything he can to get a big payout to which I’m sure he’ll be taken care of, whether it’s by the Houston Texans or elsewhere.  It’d better be here because Reader is a later-round pick that actually hit for them so I think he should be rewarded if he keeps his tenacious play up through the season.

We’ll have to see how that pans out — let’s go Houston Texans!

Next. Keke Coutee should be extremely concerned about Kenny Stills. dark

Reader has amassed nine combined tackles — five solos — along with 1.5 sacks, two tackles-for-loss and three quarterback hits through his first three starts in 2019.

For more grades, advanced statistics and more at Pro Football Focus, subscribe to PFF’s EDGE and ELITE subscriptions at ProFootballFocus.com.