Oct 9, 2011; Houston, TX, USA; Oakland Raiders defensive end Lamarr Houston (99) in action against the Houston Texans in the fourth quarter at Reliant Stadium. The Raiders defeated the Texans 25-20. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders: Will Lamarr Houston Step Up in His Contract Year?

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Lamarr Houston is a defensive end for the Oakland Raiders.

Or is he?

Well, that is yet another key question for the Raiders next season. As the year of transition begins, could Houston get moved to the 3-technique defensive tackle spot?

Head coach Dennis Allen said that it is certainly a possibility.

Desmond Bryant held that position last year but is no longer with the team. Houston is under a four-year contract that started in 2010. In 2013, he is scheduled to make $630,000 with a $30,000 workout bonus. In 2014, he becomes a free agent.

Can he adapt well to the 3-technique position if he is moved?

The 3-technique position is usually for the pass-rushing defensive tackle. Can Houston handle the job? He did have 10 sacks during his first three seasons, so perhaps this is a role he could slide well into.

Where Houston has excelled defensively is against the run. He has been a high impact run defender and has excelled in forcing quarterback hurries. He has certainly improved and potentially could be a solid force this year.

In 2010, Houston had a total of 31 solo tackles and five sacks. In 2011 he had 36 total solo tackles and one sack. Last year was his best year with 48 total solo tackles and four sacks.

Houston was interviewed after training camp practice on Friday, and when asked if there was going to be a big change for him on defense this year  –specifically a planned attack or just going for the quarterback — Houston responded by saying that he doesn’t think there’s any difference from last year.

He is going to focus on doing his job well. Even though his contract brings him to free agency in 2014, he has said he’s a “Raider for life”.

I think Houston will not only step up in his contract season, but will be a driving defensive player in whatever position he is utilized.

Keep him at what he knows best — a tackle — and let him do his job.

Frankly, the Raiders need him. Look for a 50-plus solo tackle season and a few sacks from Houston as well this year.

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