HOUSTON – Jaleel Johnson busted into the Tennessee Titans’ backfield Sunday afternoon, sacking rookie quarterback Maliek Willis.
It was a strong game for the veteran defensive tackle, albeit in a losing cause, a 17-10 loss at NRG Stadium.
Johnson recorded a sack and three solo tackles in his first game back with the Texans since being signed late last week off the Atlanta Falcons’ practice squad. He played 29 defensive snaps, 50 percent of the total defensive playing time.
Johnson played in 12 games for the Texans last season, finishing with 23 tackles, two for losses, one quarterback hit and one fumble recovery.
“It was good to get the call,” Johnson said. “I was excited to be back around the guys I was with last year and be back with the coaching staff.”
For his career, Johnson (6-foot-2, 316 pounds, Iowa) has recorded 114 tackles, 6 1/2 sacks, 11 tackles for losses and 11 quarterback hits.
The former Minnesota Vikings fourth-round draft pick’s familiarity with Texans coach Lovie Smith’s 4-3 system made him a strong fit to return with starting defensive tackle Maliek Collins sidelined with a chest injury.
“Knowing the system and how coach Lovie wants us to play, my first day back, it was like I never left,” Johnson said. “It was good to be back.”
The Texans need reinforcements and change defensively. They allowed a season-high 314 rushing yards against the Titans as All-Pro running back Derrick Henry rushed for 219 yards and two touchdowns.
It’s the highest priority for the Texans.
“Definitely,” Johnson said.
Aaron Wilson is a contributor to KPRC 2 and click2houston.com