It’s his job to set the edge against the running game. His communication with the defensive line and inside linebackers in the passing game is also important for the Texans.
“I just think he does a lot of things that don't show up in a stat sheet that help you win,” Texans head coach Bill O’Brien said Monday.
When Mercilus is putting up stats, it’s impressive.
With the Texans trailing 16-8 in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s wild-card game against the Buffalo Bills, Mercilus knocked the ball away from quarterback Josh Allen, allowing the Texans to chip away at had been a 16-0 deficit.
Mercilus led the Texans with 7.5 sacks and four forced fumbles on the season.
The bulk of his statistical production happened early, when he had five sacks, four forced fumble and an interception in the first four games.
Then Mercilus returned an interception for 86 yards against the Titans in Week 15 and sacked Jameis Winston twice in the following week.
"He's a very consistent player,” O’Brien said. "You really know what you're going to get out of Whitney every day. He's got the same routine every day, and I just think he's a very consistent player. So, I think if you if you're that consistent, then eventually in big games and critical moments, that consistency is going to show up in a good way for your team."