James Houston has made a quick impact in two games, and Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn has offered a comp for the rookie.
James Houston made his NFL debut on Thanksgiving Day against the Buffalo Bills, with two sacks of Josh Allen on five defensive snaps. He followed that up with a sack of Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence in Week 13, as he saw a little more action (12 defensive snaps).
Three sacks in his first two NFL games put Houston in some select company, along with a teammate as it were.
Here’s the pass-rush move he made to take down Lawrence. A “skip-step, hesitation”? Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, in reference to the nickname Houston had in college, called the move “The Problem.”
Aaron Glenn comes out with a comp for James Houston
Glenn went further about Houston, via Justin Rogers of The Detroit News.
"Again, we want to bring that player along slowly and let him continue to get his confidence the way he is right now,”Same player, you just have to really understand how to utilize him,” Glenn said. “That just comes from what’s your scheme? What are you willing to change to have that player be a part of what you’re doing? …So the thing is, we know exactly what we want to do with that player. We just want to make sure we’re careful with him to make sure he continues to rise with the way he is right now.”"
Glenn of course left the door open to Houston playing plenty more at some point, and (via Rogers) he added a comp for the rookie–Yannick Ngakoue.
Ngakoue has 8.5 sacks for the Indianapolis Colts this season, and he has 64 career sacks (at least eight in all seven of his seasons). The veteran defensive end is a familar player to another member of the Lions’ defensive staff. Defensive line coach Todd Wash was the Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator from 2016-2020, overlapping with Ngakoue in the first four of those five seasons.
Houston has become an interesting part of a young defensive foundation for the Lions. Where he goes from here is uncertain, but pretty unlimited at the same time.