Texans S Grayland Arnold uses ‘inside dog’ to fuel season three growth

Throughout the loud conversations and chatter between the Houston Texans coaches and players on the offensive and defensive side of the ball during the 11-on-11 drills, certain repeated phrases can be heard loud and clear throughout the timed activity. .

“Good game 35”, launches one of the players from the sideline.

“That’s how you get to the ball and make a play three-five,” a booming voice from the coaching staff said.

That shouted number consistently belongs to defensive back Grayland Arnold. He’s trying to prove to head coach and defensive coordinator Lovie Smith that he deserves more playing time in the defensive field this season. Arnold saw limited action last season on the defensive side of the ball as his presence was mostly felt on special teams.

“I feel like it’s really important to have a coach who understands you, who knows you play and who knows who you are,” Arnold said of having Smith as a coach.

The Kountze native knows he has to go above and beyond to get more playing time this season, especially with the amount of talent the Texans have in the defensive backfield. Arnold knows that every time his number is called he needs to have the most significant impact on the court, even though most of the time he’s the smallest in size at 5-10, 187 pounds.

“I’m a competitor,” Arnold said of his drive and determination. “I’m not the biggest guy. I will never be the biggest guy on the pitch. Nine times out of 10, most of the time when I step onto the pitch, I’m going to be one of the smaller ones. But it’s the dog inside me that keeps me going. I always had faith in God that I could level up and compete.

Stepping up to the next level hasn’t been done in the traditional way for Baylor’s former second-team All-Big 12 selection, who announced he was entering the 2020 NFL Draft after his junior season in a redshirt. . Many pundits had expected Arnold to be drafted to teams such as the New York Giants and Washington in later rounds. Still, he didn’t hear his name called and signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent.

Not hearing his name was something new for Arnold, who was All-State in two sports (basketball and football) at Kountze High School and stood out for Baylor.

“I feel like, for everyone, it’s a humbling experience,” Arnold said of his draft-day experience. “You go out early; you expect to be drafted. So, that humbled me, but at the end of the day, man, like I say, it doesn’t matter, drafted or not, your ass still has to compete. You have to go compete.

“It doesn’t matter if you get that bag up front or on the road. You gotta go prove it. You gotta go earn it. So it was a little humbling experience, but at the same time, it’s the same state of mind attached to it.

After several stints back and forth from the Eagles practice squad and active roster, Arnold was released on September 3, 2021. Twelve days later, he found he was returning to his home state. , Texas, as the Houston Texans signed him. to the practice squad.

Now, all Arnold is hoping for is an opportunity to get more playing time this season, but he knows he has to be prepared to play in multiple positions in the defensive field with special teams.

“I went back and forth between nickel and safety, so I did a lot of footwork drills,” Arnold said when asked about his job in the offseason. “I did a lot of physical conditioning and a lot of running. During the OTAs I did a lot of positions, so I just wanted to be versatile.

The story originally appeared on Texans Wire