Linebackers coach Miles Smith says Texans are designing defensive schemes around Christian Harris

With six games remaining on their 2022 schedule, the Houston Texans are nearing the end of what has proven to be a supremely disappointing season. Despite this fact, optimism remains high that if they can draft a star quarterback next April, the team might be able to compete with some of the pieces currently in place on the roster, particularly on defense.

A key part of their outlook is rookie linebacker Christian Harris, who has been a standout for the Texans this season. Though he has missed time due to injury, linebackers coach Miles Smith told reporters on Thursday that the team is already looking to build their defensive schemes around Harris in the weeks and years to come.

“At this point, he is a three-down linebacker in our scheme,” Smith explained. “When we talk three-down linebackers, our Will and our Mike linebacker, they don’t come off the field unless something’s happened. Early on, we wanted to slowly, gradually get him involved. He played more of our Sam linebacker which comes out for 11-personnel. At this point, he is in there every single play. We’re starting to design things that are based on his skillset. He’s fully integrated in our defense. We’re excited for the future.”

While Harris’ development is contingent on his ability to actually participate in games, what coaches have seen to this point seems to have made enough of an impression for them to trust that he will be able to stay healthy in the future. Harris was one of the top players at his position at the collegiate level when he played for the University of Alabama and has proven to be able to translate much of his skillset to the pro level.

If what Smith said is true, expect Harris to be the centerpiece of Houston’s defense in 2023 as the team seeks to rebound from their abysmal 2022 campaign.

Story originally appeared on Texans Wire