Texans’ defensive communication changes without signal caller Benardrick McKinney

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By SportsRadio 610

HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610) -- The loss of Texans inside linebacker Benardrick McKinney to season-ending shoulder surgery will impact how the team communicates on defense, interim head coach Romeo Crennel said Wednesday.

McKinney was placed on the injured-reserve list Tuesday after missing the Texans’ game against the Jaguars on Sunday.

“He’s a real good leader, good communicator out there. He kind of runs the defense,” Crennel told SportsRadio 610. “And not having him out there, we have to reinforce our communication. Everybody has to do more communicating so that we can get everybody on the same page. And B-Mac used to be the guy that did it.

“He could get the linemen lined up. He could help with adjustments and he did it all. Plus, he’s a really good player. So, when you lose a really good player, it’s hard to replace right away. So we’re going to have to make an adjustment.”

Without McKinney, the Texans will rely more on Zach Cunningham, their leading tackler. Tyrell Adams stepped in McKinney’s place with a career-high 13 tackles and his first fumble recovery.

Crennel said he noticed as the game went on, Adams became more comfortable and his reads were quicker.

The Texans have added two linebackers -- Kyle Emanuel signed from the Las Vegas Raiders’ practice squad and Emmanuel Ellerbee, a former Rice linebacker, signed to the practice squad.

As for McKinney, his future with the Texans is unclear. McKinney signed a deal in 2018 worth up to $50 million with about $16.1 million fully guaranteed, but there is no guaranteed money past this season.

He would carry a cap hit of $8.5 million next season, according to Over The Cap, and new Texans leadership could either release McKinney, or restructure his deal.