I love analyzing the formula for a player's success. There are usually multiple ingredients which come together to create a cohesive meal, per se. For Lopez, it all starts with his frame. Listed at 6 foot 2, 318 pounds, Lopez is a bit smaller than your typical Nose Guard. Texans' fans will remember 6 foot 3, 347 pound DJ Reader, but Lopez is closer to another former Texan, Vince Wilfork who was listed at 6 foot 2, 325 pounds.
Lopez is not Wilfork, that would be a pretty outrageous take nine games into his rookie year, but the way they both succeed on the field is pretty similar. With a short, squatty and thick frame, Lopez is one tough SOB to move. He amplifies his frame by playing with good technique, to play bigger than his size. Lopez consistently plays with low pad level, bending by the knees and ensuring he wins the leverage battle versus his opponent.
Take this tackle during last week's win versus the Tennessee Titans for example. Lopez (91) is aligned as a 1-technique Nose Guard, in between the right shoulder of the Center Ben Jones (60) and the left shoulder of the Right Guard, Aaron Brewer (61).
Brewer, listed at 6 foot 1, is shorter than Lopez, so Lopez needs to overcome his natural leverage disadvantage. Right off the snap, Brewer is initially lower than Lopez, but Lopez bends his knees, gets his hands into Brewer's chest, gets slightly lower than Brewer before tossing him aside for the tackle for loss.