Matt Burke calling Texans' defensive plays in preseason

Texans coach DeMeco Ryans previously indicated that he plans to run the defense, calling the plays, just as he did with the San Francisco 49ers.

However, defensive coordinator Matt Burke has been calling the plays in both of the Texans’ preseason games and during practice sessions.

“We use the preseason in a way where Burke has called the plays throughout the preseason, and I’ve had my input as well,” Ryans said. “It’s been running fairly smoothly over the past two weeks.”

One reason for having Burke call the defense would be to keep Ryans free to operate as a game manager.

The architect of the NFL’s top-ranked defense with the 49ers, the former Pro Bowl linebacker will work in tandem with defensive coordinator Matt Burke in developing the defensive game plan.

Ryans, previously a NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and a 49ers defensive quality control coach and linebackers coach, oversaw a 49ers defense ranked first in total defense and scoring defense last season.

A year ago, former Texans coach Lovie Smith, who was dismissed after a 3-13-1 season was the primary defensive play-caller. Later in the season, Smith’s son, linebackers coach Miles Smith, called plays, per league sources.

“Yeah, I’m learning when either side of the ball is up, I’m available,” Ryans said. “That’s how I view these past two weeks, that’s how I’ve used it. I’m available to those guys on defense when I need to add some input, also on offense as well. It’s been the communication flow, the workflow on the sideline, the communication amongst not only me and the coordinators, but our entire coaching staff. It’s been excellent.”

The Texans allowed 398 yards of total offense and 205 rushing yards in a 28-3 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

Setting the edge. Tackling. Gap discipline. Pursuit angles. Those were all issues for the Texans’ defense.

How do they simulate tackling in practice and avoid injuries.

“Yeah, with the tackling, with the run fits, it starts in walkthrough, and it starts just being attentive to the details of your job,” Ryans said. “And then with the tackling, we have to put them in as close to a live tackling session as possible. Most of the time with tackling, it’s just about taking the proper angle and putting your body exactly where it’s supposed to be, and that can improve. We’ll emphasize that this week and see where our guys can get better.”

Aaron Wilson is a contributor to Sports Talk 790.

Miami Dolphins v Houston Texans

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Texans work out four players

The Texans worked out four veteran players Monday, including cornerback Cam Dantzler, according to league sources.

The Texans also worked out cornerback-safety Chris Jackson, defensive end Kenny Willekes and linebacker Olasunkanmi Adeniyi.

Dantzler is a former Minnesota Vikings third-round draft pick from Mississippi State. He had 50 tackles, three for losses, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery last season for the Vikings.

Jackson is a former Tennessee Titans sixth-round draft pick from Marshall University. He has 59 career tackles, two for losses and five passes defensed. He has played in 24 games with six starts.

Adeniyi is a former Pittsburgh Steelers undrafted free agent from Toledo. He has also played for the Titans and has 49 career tackles, 2 1/2 sacks and three forced fumbles. He went to high school at George Bush.

Willekes is a former Vikings seventh-round draft pick from Michigan State. He’s a former All-Big Ten Conference selection and Defensive Lineman of the Year. He has 16 career tackles, 2 1/2 sacks and one pass deflection.

Aaron Wilson is a contributor to Sports Talk 790.

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