Earl Mitchell ready to step up
Earl Mitchell is now a starter in the NFL and thanks to the work he put in this offseason, he looks the part more than ever.
At the Texans OTAs last week Mitchell looked lean but also big. He’s quick and strong. You see the footwork of a tight end or H-back in Mitchell, maybe because he played both positions in college. But now you see that same agility around 300 pounds. Mitchell is now Houston’s starting nose tackle after serving as Shaun Cody’s backup since being drafted in the third round in 2010. The Texans didn’t resign Cody this offseason and Mitchell is now the man in the middle for his hometown team.
“Playing in the trenches you have to have a sense of cardio and it becomes a game of who’s less tired,” Mitchell said. “So this offseason I wanted to get myself ready so I’d be able to play into the fourth quarter.”
Last season Mitchell played in 37 percent of the Texans’ defensive plays. Cody played in 24 percent of the snaps last season. Due to injury Cody played in just 13 games during the regular season, but it was plain to see that Mitchell was outplaying him as the season progressed.
This will be Mitchell’s fourth season in the league and his previous offseasons he mostly concentrated on the adjustment to the NFL game.
“First couple of years I was practicing technique quite a bit, I was watching a lot of film and talking to a lot of veterans that have played in Wade’s (Phillips) scheme,” Mitchell said.
This year Mitchell took to his offseason workouts like a man on fire. He’s made changes and adjustments to his workouts and it has shown.
“This year I decided I wanted to get into a couple of different things," he said. "I got into some cross fit training, boxing and I defiantly decided to add a couple different things to my training regiment.”
Mitchell is just 25 and is as quiet as Cody is loud. When asked if he was going to take over “On the Nose," Cody’s comedy segment on HoustonTexans.com, now that Cody is no longer on the team, Mitchell laughed and said that’s not his thing. Mitchell is serious about the 2013 season and he has become more than just a starter, he’s a leader on the field as well.
“I have a big chip on my shoulder,” added Mitchell. “Because one, I want to show what I can do and I also want to be able to show the younger guys what to do when they step on the field,” Mitchell said. I feel responsible if they come out on the field and make mistakes or mental mistakes. I want to do everything I can to make everyone a more productive player."