Texans' Vincent Taylor, defensive line makes an impact

Vincent Taylor surged into the line of scrimmage and batted away the extra point Saturday night, running off the field while celebrating.

The Texans veteran defensive tackle delivered a big game during a preseason loss to the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, finishing with three tackles, one for a loss and one fumble recovery of a fumble forced by defensive tackle DeMarcus Walker on rookie quarterback Kyle Trask. He split a sack with rookie defensive tackle Roy Lopez.

Walker was extremely difficult to block, too, with six tackles, the sack and a forced fumble. He also tagged Buccaneers quarterback Blaine Gabbert down in the end zone for a safety.

Defensive end Charles Omenihu recorded his third sack of the preseason, and defensive end Jacob Martin had another sack.

This has emerged as a much more talented, deep position with the additions of Taylor, Maliek Collins, Lopez, Walker and Jordan Jenkins to go with Omenihu, Martin and Ross Blacklock.

"Yeah, those guys are going to work, man," Texans safety Justin Reid said. "I love it. I'm such a huge fan like that. We'll be in a drive and you'll see all four linemen come out and a fresh four come in, and then they are just going out there and eating, man. I love to see it. When you have guys creating pressure on the quarterback like that, it just makes the defense work. 

"Football starts up front on the line of scrimmage. I've had D-lines that were creating pressure and I've had D-lines that weren't, and these guys are doing a hell of a job up front to create pressure on the quarterback that will allow us opportunities in the back end to make plays, but also us holding them off will let those guys get home, too, and get some of the strip sacks that you saw."

The Texans will have some tough decisions as they get down to the 53-man roster limit. Walker and Jaleel Johnson are competing for one of the final spots.

"They have been grinding," Texans linebacker Christian Kirksey said. "It goes to show you how deep they are. You can just plug any guy in there and you still have the same speed and momentum and you’re not missing a step, so I'm proud to see that group climb the ladder and go out there and perform how they are performing. It gets me excited whenever you see a D-line in front of you that's making it a lot easier for us linebackers. 

"Sometimes they have to play before me, so you know, if they are making a play, I tip my hat off to them and it makes our job easier to where they are not telling them a lot to do because they already know what to do and they are attacking the line of scrimmage and keeping the linemen off of us and playing gap-sound defense and it makes everybody job easier when everybody is doing their job.”

Aaron Wilson has covered the NFL for 20 seasons, including the Texans, Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars. He has previously written for The Houston Chronicle and The Baltimore Sun. He’s on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL and Instagram: @aaronwilson7128.

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