With veteran SS Danieal Manning out for 6-8 weeks with an injury, South Carolina Gamecocks rookie D.J. Swearinger is getting the start at strong safety for the Houston Texans going forward. Swearinger was touted for his aggressiveness and monstrous hits while with the Gamecocks in coverage, and no rookie defensive player showed that kind of violence while in college. Interestingly enough, Swearinger also held his own at CB when asked to play there due to injuries. Although his skill-set fits better at SS than FS, he can still do some solid stuff in coverage at strong safety when asked to, but I’m almost certain the Texans will tell him to stay inside the box as a rookie with veteran FS Ed Reed doing all of the work in deep coverage.
Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak spoke about Swearinger starting with Manning out, “Yeah, there was a lot of discussion about that. We play a lot of personnel’s defensively. Nowadays in football, you’ll play dime more than you’ll play base. We made a decision we’re going to start D.J. in base. He’s a physical player, a box player. We’re sitting here talking about Case (Keenum) a lot, but there’s a lot on D.J.’s plate this week too. In theory, this is his first start as a pro. Some young guys going there that need to play well for us to be successful.”
He added, “Oh, he’s a tough kid. Boy, he’s tough minded. Very confident young man. He practiced really good today.”
As a senior at South Carolina, D.J. Swearinger had 79 tackles, nine passes defended, three tackles for loss, and two defensive touchdowns.