October 26, 2021

Texans’ Justin Reid says playing safety is about embracing a mentality

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Texans’ Justin Reid says playing safety is about embracing a mentality
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Justin Reid is a safety. It’s what he does. It’s what his brother, Eric Reid, did at a Pro Bowl level from 2013-19 with the San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers.

“It’s really a mentality,” Reid said. “The cornerback position, you’re a little bit more on an island. You’re out there, really it’s all coverage. When you play safety, you have to be willing to get your nose dirty.”

The Houston Texans’ leader in the backend has provided the club with two interceptions, a forced fumble, 20 combined tackles, and three pass breakups through four games, two of which he has started in 2021. Part of Reid’s success has come from being willing to take part in the dirty jobs.

Said Reid: “You have to be willing to go in, play in the box, hit a fullback, hit a tight end, guys that weigh sometimes 30, 40, 50 more pounds than you do. The biggest responsibility is sure tackling. It’s just a mentality thing and it’s a willingness to make those tackles.”

The mentality aspect of playing safety is what Reid has tried to convey to third-year Lonnie Johnson, who was drafted out of Kentucky in the second round in 2019 as a cornerback. Johnson has spent the past two seasons converting to safety after playing cornerback his rookie year.

His biggest thing when he first moved to safety was just getting experience (after) being a corner his whole life,” Reid said. “He’s grown in the role, and he’ll tell anybody, ‘I’m a safety now, not a corner.’ He’s done a great job there, has the ball skills from being a receiver back in his high school days and things like that.”

Like Reid, Johnson has picked off two passes and knocked away three others, and collected 21 tackles in four games, three of which he has started.

According to Reid, both he and Johnson are similar enough in style that they are interchangeable in the Texans’ secondary.

I think that the coverage is great when we’re both out there because we both have the ability to play man and be interchangeable that way,” said Reid.

The Texans’ “Evil Twins” will be tested Sunday at 12:00 p.m. Central Time when Houston goes to Lucas Oil Stadium to play the Indianapolis Colts.



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