Avoiding a Letdown: The Tale of Two Texans

The SportmeistersAnalyst ISeptember 25, 2009

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 20:  Matt Schaub #8 of the Houston Texans throws a pass against the Tennessee Titans during the NFL game at LP Field on September 20, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Texans won 34-31.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

By Contributing Blogger Scott for The Sportmeisters

Last week’s victory against the Oilers (err…Titans), left only a sense of uncertainty about the identity of the Texans. Rightfully so, coach Gary Kubiak and several Texans players expressed displeasure about the game with hopes of stepping up execution.  

Let’s hope that the Texans that set off an offensive explosion last week, carrying over that momentum. However, this week’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars could be one of the defining games of the 2009 season.

This week’s game against the Jags could be a letdown game for the Texans. Granted, they own the overall win-loss record at 8-6, with five of those wins coming at home. However, which Texans team will show-up? The one we saw last week or the one that forgot to show against the New York Jets?

The Texans have a history of letdowns after big games. Case in point: last year’s Monday night win against the Jags. Remember DE “Super” Mario Williams going off on offensive tackle Khalif Barnes and his three sack performance, or rookie RB Steve Slaton having a coming out party with 182 yards from scrimmage? Sounds like last week, does it not?

However, the following week, they traveled and laid an egg against the Oakland Raiders. The similarities are there that Jacksonville could be last season’s Oakland. Luckily, both games are at home but Jacksonville may be poised to hand the Texans a letdown.  Let’s now look at the matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Defensively, the Jags are a step down from the Jets and Titans.  Don’t think that they will lay down and let the Texans go off. Remember, this is another bitter division rivalry and nothing should be taken for granted. The Texans must do what they did last week and get QB Matt Schaub and WR Andre Johnson involved early.

This should do two things: create other open receivers (such as TE Owen Daniels & WR Kevin Walter) and assist the run game. The Texans can score on the Jags but they need to get into an early rhythm, stay on the field and put points on the board in the red zone (TDs>FGs). Execution is this week’s offensive mantra.

Offensively, the Jags have been somewhat anemic the last two weeks but playing the NFL’s worst defense could bring some relief.  We know that the Jags are going to run a lot with RB Maurice Jones-Drew, then take shots vertically downfield to WR Torry Holt, but look out for QB David Garrard. Not with his arm but with his feet. He has made big plays against the Texans when he has alluded the rush or just tucked and run. The Texans (especially the young ends of Williams and Amobi Okoye) should be able get to him but they will need to hit, wrap, and tackle.

The strategy is the same as against the Titans; force Garrard to stand and stay in the pocket and throw. Aggressiveness and assignments are this week’s defensive mantras.

If the Texans want to be a playoff team this year, they will have to execute and build (not demolish) upon their success from last week. It is time for them to create an identity for themselves, as they proved last week that they can come back and beat a better team.  Let’s just hope that they come to play and alleviate any sense of doubt.