Here is Pete Dougherty's scouting report on the Houston Texans' passing defense based on interviews with coaches and scouts:
The Texans rank No. 2 in the NFL in defensive passer rating (65.3) and No. 4 in passing yards allowed. J.J. Watt moves inside in the nickel and has been dominant with his combination of athleticism and relentless effort. He’s an early front-runner for NFL defensive player of the year and is second in the league in sacks (7 ˝), which is astounding for an inside rusher.
Outside LBs Brooks Reed and Connor Barwin aren’t elite athletes, but they’re good ones who play hard and are schooled to get up field first and play the run second. Reed, who is something of a poor man’s Clay Matthews, has a good spin move and can rush with some speed and power. He had six sacks as a rookie last year and 2˝ this season. Barwin, a fourth-year pro, is a little more explosive and surprisingly has no sacks this season after getting 11˝ last year.
Jonathan Joseph (5-11, 189), signed as a free agent from Atlanta in ’11, is one of the lesser-known top cornerbacks in the NFL and occasionally performs at a lock-down level. Kareem Jackson (5-10, 192), the starter opposite Joseph, has improved dramatically since his rookie season in 2010. He still gets beaten but also makes plays on the ball.
Safeties Daniel Manning (5-11, 210) and Glover Quin (6-0, 207) have good size and are OK in coverage, but neither is an in-the-box type.