EXPECT BIG THINGS

Here's why this could be the next breakout star for the Texans

Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

It was a solid rookie season in the NFL for 5th round draft pick Charles Omenihu in 2019. After a rookie year that saw him compile 3.0 sacks and two forced fumbles in 14 games, the Texans coaching staff is expecting a big second-year jump from the young defensive end out of the University of Texas.

"He's just becoming a more confident player, and that comes with age and maturity," new Texans defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver said. "Every year in this league you learn a little bit more about yourself and about the guys you're playing against. He's kind of come into his own a little bit. We look forward to that paying dividends once the season starts. He is certainly not a guy who lacks confidence, and that's what you want when you have players out there with his skill set."

Last season according to Pro Football Focus, Omenihu, accumulated 32 pressures in the regular season and playoffs, leading all rookie interior defensive linemen. Omenihu goes up against center Nick Martin in practice all the time and he sees the improvements that the former Texas Longhorn has made.

"For a lot of guys, the biggest jump in the NFL is from that first to the second year, so I'm excited to see what he does this year," Martin said. "I really like what he's doing in the run game, too, especially. Obviously, he can pass rush. He's got that good length. He gets that stab into you and it's a tough move to go against."

On Thursday the Texans held a team scrimmage at NRG Stadium and Texans Head Coach and General Manager O'Brien singled out Omenihu as a player that jumped out to him playing under the lights for the first time in 2020.

"Charles Omenihu, that guy has had a really good camp for us, O'Brien said. "I think a lot of guys have really performed well in a situation where they haven't had an offseason and they've had to just really concentrate in training camp. We've got a ways to go, like I said before, but I think some guys are really trying to get better."

The Texans hope a 'really good' camp translates into a really good 2020 season for Omenihu.


Jake Asman is a national host on SportsMap Radio. You can listen to The Jake Asman Show weekdays from 8 AM - 10 AM Central.

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Houston drops first of three

Mariners heat up late to take series opener over Astros

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With the playoffs just a little over a week away, the Astros started their last week of regular-season games in Seattle against the Mariners. A couple of wins against them would secure Houston's spot as the AL West's second playoff participant, with Oakland all but having locked up the first spot sitting six games in front of Houston with seven left to play. Here is a quick rundown of the opener from T-Mobile Park:

Final Score: Mariners 6, Astros 1.

Record: 27-27, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Marco Gonzalez (7-2, 3.06 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (3-3, 4.24 ERA).

Bitter end to an impressive start for McCullers Jr.

Both starting pitchers would take a scoreless deep late into Monday night's game. While the Astros were trying to figure out Marco Gonzalez, Lance McCullers Jr. was repeating the success of his last start, a seven-inning two-hit start against the Rangers.

McCullers Jr. allowed a two-out walk in the bottom of the first inning, then proceeded to retire the next fourteen batters before a one-out double in the bottom of the sixth gave the Mariners their first hit of the night. He would go on to finish the sixth before things unraveled in the seventh.

A leadoff walk would result in a run after an error by Jose Altuve left runners on first and second, setting up an RBI-double to give the Mariners the first run of the night and a 1-0 lead. McCullers Jr. looked like he was going to cap off his night by stranding the runners on second and third after back-to-back strikeouts, but before he could get the last out of the inning allowed a three-run home run to blow the game open at 4-0. His final line: 6.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 1 HR, 102 P.

Mariners take the opener

Despite getting several hits against him along the way, Houston could not get anything substantial going against Gonzalez, who would shutout the Astros over eight innings of work. After Enoli Paredes finished the seventh, Brandon Bielak would take over out of Houston's bullpen for the bottom of the eighth.

He struggled mightily, loading the bases with no outs, including a hit batter before allowing a two-RBI single to extend Seattle's lead to 6-0. The Astros would get on the board in the top of the ninth, getting a two-out double by Carlos Correa, who would score on an RBI-single by Josh Reddick. That would be too little, too late as the 6-1 score would go final as the Mariners took the opener, keeping the Astros' magic number at two.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will be another 8:10 PM Central start on Tuesday. On the mound will be Framber Valdez (4-3, 3.82 ERA) for the Astros and Ljay Newsome (0-1, 6.35 ERA) for the Mariners.

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