March 18, 2018

Looking Closer at Brooks Reed

“Brooks Reed is, well, Brooks Reed.”

That comment really made us think about what outside linebacker Brooks Reed really is for the Houston Texans. Reed is entering his third season for the Texans and there has been plenty of talk on where Reed’s production has gone since his rookie season in 2011.

Here we are guilty of being tough on Reed and pointed out he has done very little off the edge for the Texans’ defense as a pass rusher. There is no secret on how Reed handles the edge in the run game and without him the defense would not be as nearly as stout.  Reed has always been described as a high motor player that made the transition from college defensive end at Arizona to outside linebacker for the Texans.

It has been a mixed bag for Reed. He has shown the ability in his rookie season to get to the quarterback but always seems to be locked up with offensive tackles on his pass rush. He does not have a counter move to go with his bull rush and, if he does get to the quarterback, it always seems like he is a step too slow to make the play.

We decided to look at Reed’s stats a little closer to see what he has done since his rookie season.


Reed Stats

Number in parentheses is per snap the said stat occurs.

2011- 16 games

Snaps – 799  Sacks – 6 (133)  QB Hits – 6 (133)   QB Hurries- 25 (31.9)

2012- 12 games

Snaps – 598  Sacks – 2.5 (271) QB Hits – 3 (199.6)   QB Hurries- 19 (31.5)

2013- 2 games

Snaps – 126  Sacks – 0  QB Hits – 0   QB Hurries- 3 (73.5)

Playoff Reed – 4 games

Snaps – 219  Sacks – 5  (43.8) QB Hits – 0   QB Hurries- 3 (73)


Reed’s stats are at a steady decline, especially his quarterback sacks and quarterback hits, while his hurries are still in the same ballpark. There is not much data for this season but the one stat line that opened up our eyes is what he has done in the playoffs. Reed actually turns into a pass rusher and finishes plays and is sacking the quarterback every 43.8 defensive snaps. He cut his best sack season (2011) by a third with his performance he showed in four playoff games. He actually turns into a difference maker during the playoffs.

Reed has shown that during the playoffs he can be what the Texans want in an outside linebacker, but the issue now is where is this play during the regular season. Reed has shown he can be better than an average outside linebacker but he is not gifted with top notch speed or quickness so his room for error is much smaller than the more physically gifted outside linebackers.

It comes down to technique for Reed and being able to turn the corner off the edge. He is an important part of the Texans’ defense but his progression as a player is becoming stagnant from his rookie season in 2011. A position change could help Reed out and inside linebacker could be a help to his career. There could be a method to the Texans’ madness on why they were working Reed out at inside linebacker.

For now, Reed is going to be an edge player for the Texans but the clock could be ticking on his time in Houston. What happened to Connor Barwin should be fair warning what the team is about and what is produced during each season is what counts. Also, add in three young outside linebackers in  Sam Montgomery, Trevardo Williams and Willie Jefferson now on the roster, he has officially been put on notice. This 2013 season is a big one for Reed and finding what makes him produce in the playoffs would be nice to show during the regular season.



You can follow Patrick on Twitter.  He is the Editor of State of the Texans.





2 Responses to “Looking Closer at Brooks Reed”
  1. Steve Dent says:

    I think he would be more effective as an inside linebacker next to Cushing. He is too small and not explosive enough off of the edge to be anything more than a marginal outside linebacker. He does give the Texans flexibility to allow him to get into coverage more, but Houston needs sacks from someone other Watt on the defensive line.

  2. DanO says:

    Coming out of college Reed had the fastest ten yard split time of any D-lineman, and was known specifically for his, and I quote, “ELITE first step”, “relentless motor” “excellent closing speed’, and “excellent flexibility/ leverage”. Also, he graded out as a pass rush specialist who was a liability against the run… Mind blown from the complete 180 our players take so often because of poor coaching. Good coaches put players in a position to succeed and thrive; Texans Coaches-square peg, round hole, “we can make it fit and if it doesn’t, welp, we’re too conservative to try an “unproven” guy, so we might as well try and force it in there, it’ll eventually work. Hey, make sure Schaub knows to always boot TE/ strong side and call two draws for every pass on third downs. NO AUDIBLES TOO.” Upper Tier Coaches-square peg, round hole, “if it doesn’t fit we may need to try reshaping our approach or find someone who is hungry enough to succeed. Hey, QB, you have three checks for every play; depending on what they show. If you see something out there then go for it.”

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