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Home NFL Houston Texans Benardrick McKinney and Zach Cunningham clicking on defense for Texans

Benardrick McKinney and Zach Cunningham clicking on defense for Texans

Houston Texans middle linebackers Benardrick McKinney and Zach Cunningham are forming an impressive duo in the heart of defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel’s defense. Cunningham is entering his third year with the Texans, and the former 2017 second-round pick out of Vanderbilt has been solid since day one.

While injuries did get in the way at times in 2018 ultimately costing him two regular season games, Cunningham still ended up as Houston’s leading tackler, and according to McKinney, he has become somewhat of a mentor to the impressive youngster.

“If we see something different, we’ll talk about it,” McKinney said. “We’ll talk to our coach about it. But we always click, and 95 percent of the time we’re always seeing like eye-to-eye.”

Fresh off of his first Pro Bowl season, McKinney admitted that the two of them have a strong bond both on and off the field.

“Me and Zach, we’re friends on and off the field,” said McKinney. “So, the chemistry between me and him is still growing. It’s great chemistry.”

One of this defense’s leaders, McKinney has taken on a more prominent leadership role since the 2018 offseason departure of Brian Cushing, now an assistant strength coach with the team. But while he may have stepped into his former teammate’s shoes on the field, his approach to coaching Cunningham is somewhat different from how Cushing talked to him in the past.

“Cushing and Zach are two different type of players,” admitted McKinney. “Cush is a more serious based. It’s kind of hard to be on Zach like that because he’ll say something (funny). So, it’s different.”

Houston’s defensive front has great potential to be one of the league’s premier units. If the revamped secondary can catch up with their impressive front seven, the Texans could do some serious damage come 2019 led by McKinney in the middle of it all.

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