Martinas Rankin Called On to Protect Watson's Blindside

Rookie LT Forced Into Big Role

September 11, 2018 - 4:03 pm

HOUSTON (SPORTSRADIO 610) – Martinas Rankin’s NFL debut was inevitable at some point in 2018, and even if it wasn’t expected to come in the opening game against the defending AFC champions, Rankin was ready for his opportunity. 

“That’s just what I had to tell myself out there, to have no fear even though I was thrown into the fire with a guy going down like that. Just telling myself, ‘No fear. I belong here. They brought me here for a reason and I’m going to represent this organization the best I can,” Rankin told the media on Monday.

Rankin was as he said, thrown into the fire with right tackle Seantrel Henderson going down.  Considering the circumstances, Rankin did an admirable job and the Texans are inserting a rookie with the love of the game into the starting lineup.

“(I’m) a guy that loves to be out there, a guy that has a lot of passion for the game, loves scoring touchdowns, love winning games and love being with this group of guys that I’m blessed to be here with now,” Rankin added.

The challenge for Rankin, and all of the Texans’ offensive linemen, is proving they aren’t the worst offensive line in the league like many experts think they are, and to protect for a quarterback in Deshaun Watson, who has the skillset to move around the pocket.

“I’ve always been around mobile quarterbacks, so really it’s nothing different. The one thing I can say about him is he doesn’t always look to run right away,” Rankin said.  “He looks to see if he gets something downfield. That’s something new for me so that just tells me I have to keep protecting until the whistle blows for sure.”

Even though the Texans lost, Rankin and the rest of the team believe it’s just a speed bump on their way to a successful season. Suddenly, Rankin finds himself in a position where he has to protect the blindside of the franchise quarterback.

“We know we have something special here. We just have to keep fighting. With all of the mistakes we made yesterday, we kept on fighting. Nobody got down on each other. Everybody just kept building strong and doing what we had to do,” Rankin said.  “We’re going to build off this loss and we’re going to put it behind us. We’re going to watch the tape today and see what we need to correct and make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”