Texans rookie guard Kenyon Green makes impressive debut, knocking down defenders

Houston Texans guard Kenyon Green (59) walks to the locker room after an NFL preseason football game against the Los Angeles Rams Friday, Aug. 19, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong) (Kyusung Gong, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

HOUSTON – Texans rookie offensive guard Kenyon Green was as advertised in his NFL debut, displaying aggressiveness, power and mobility.

Drafted 15th overall out of Texas A&M, the former blue-chip recruit and All-Southeastern Conference selection from Atascosita High School crushed 49ers linebacker Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles on a run by Rex Burkhead for five yards. And on Marlon Mack’s 24-yard run, Green got a ton of push up the middle, shoving back 49ers linebacker Segun Olobi at the second level to set up a touchdown.

Veteran running back Marlon Mack rushed for 55 yards on 10 carries, gaining a lot of yards with Green running interference. Green was sidelined for the first two games of the preseason as he recovered from a concussion. He missed time in the offseason while recovering from surgery to repair a lateral collateral ligament.

“It felt good, getting out there with my teammates,” Green said. “There’s still things I can do better, stuff I need to work on, my technique and everything, getting more comfortable out there. Overall, I think I did pretty good. Physical, taking people off the ball, making sure I’m driving them off the ball. I feel like we played good as a unit.

“I feel like we did real good. It’s a blessing being out there, being with the hometown team. I’m happy to be out there and happy I can contribute to my team. I need to keep building. I can get better at the little things in my game. That’s all I’m worried about is getting better. After the first hit, I calmed down and the jitters went away. I’m just focused on getting better whether it’s second-string or starter.”

The Texans averaged just 3.4 yards per carry last season. Having Green in the lineup can change that ratio dramatically.

“I can’t wait to see the video, but the plays I did see, there’s a reason why we drafted him in the first round,” Texans coach Lovie Smith said. “He’s a good football player. I thought he did some good things out there, made some good plays, but he’s capable of that. Eventually Kenyon will be in the lineup. Kenyon will be in the lineup.”

From his teammates’ standpoint, Green is on the right track. They enjoyed watching him manhandle defenders.

“It was awesome, excited for him to get in there and get some more live action,” quarterback Davis Mills said. “He’s been banged up a little bit throughout camp and out of school so it’s exciting to get him finally in there. I think he had a pancake on one of his first plays, so that’s exciting finally getting his feet wet.”