After 3 weeks the Houston Texans are 2-1, and now sit in a tie for the lead in the AFC South. They played from behind in both their wins, and narrowly escaped victorious. With a defense only that’s only allows 249 yards a game and an offense that’s loaded in terms of talent the Texans still have much to work on before taking the next step this year as a team. They’ll have little time to think about the loss they just suffered in Baltimore this past week. The Seattle Seahawks are next on the schedule, followed by the 49ers and the St. Louis Rams. They can’t afford to lose too many games this season Andrew Luck’s got the Colts at 2-1 and the Titans are also 2-1. These games are crucial for the Texans. The good thing is they do have a chance to win all 3 of those games. They’ll just have to play perfect football and focus and these key things as a team.
Texans QB Matt Schaub must limit his turnovers if his team plans to win the division this year.
Ball Security: There hasn’t been a game this year that QB Matt Schaub hasn’t thrown at least 1 INT. That’s never a goof recipe for winning games in the NFL. The Texans were nursing RB Arian Foster slowly to start the season. The fact that Ben Tate has played so well is also factoring in on the carry count right now too. If the Texans are going to have success they’ll need to get Foster touches early in these games. He’s always been a better runner that way. He takes advantage when the defense finally over commits. A healthy number of carries for Foster would benefit the offense a lot this week with the Seahawks secondary being so good. The Texans must fix this going forward if they plan on still holding at least a share of the AFC lead when this 3 week stretch is over.
Better Pass Rush: The Texans defense hasn’t really played a bad game this season. They haven’t played a perfect one either though. 2 players you know are going to make plays are JJ Watt and Brian Cushing. Both have 2 sacks on the season already, Cushing had the game tying INT against SD to open the season. Watt already has 4 passes defensed, he may break his own record of 16 by a DL this season, which would be crazy. But even with those 2 studs the Texans lack pass rush off the edges. 2011 1st rounder Whitney Mercilus was coming off a 6 sack season on limited snaps. He’s gotten 1 thus far but hasn’t been a disruptive force though. Brooks Reed a 3rd yr OLB is very effective in the running game defense but isn’t much of a pass rusher. Playing against 2 mobile QB’s and more of a spread in St. Louis the Texans will have to get more pressure off the outside these next 3 games. They have to emphasize destroying the pocket to be successful against those teams.
Special Teams Play: Special team’s has been an issue for the Texans for years now. Last season they drafted K Randy Bullock out of Texas A&M but lost him to injury. He’s now healthy, but isn’t quite kicking like he is. Bullock has already missed 4 FG’s through the first 3 weeks of this young season. He was drafted to make long kicks under pressure and has yet to do so. If Bullock keeps missing and taking points off the board for Houston they’ll have a hard time winning games. The addition of P Shane Lechler has helped the punt coverage already this season. Buy after giving up a long return for a TD against the Ravens Tandon Doss last week the Texans must get better quickly. They’ll be punting to Golden Tate of the Seahawks this week, LaMichael James next week, and Tavon Austin the following week. Every one of those players are big play threats and should be played as such. Keeping special teams points off the board and making the opposing team start drives deep in their own territory should help the Texans bunches in the games.
DE JJ Watt and ILB Brian Cushing will continue to get plenty of attention at all times. Other players will need to step up and make plays for this Texans defense.