Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Get to know the Houston Texans
By Michael DiRocco
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jaguars' poor season was expected. What has happened in Houston, however, was not.
The Texans started the season 2-0 but have lost eight consecutive games. Quarterback Matt Schaub, who threw for 4,008 yards last season, has been a mess in 2013. He set an NFL record by throwing a pick-six in four consecutive weeks and had nine interceptions before getting benched.
Running back Arian Foster, who has rushed for at least 1,224 yards and 10 touchdowns the past three seasons, is out for the season with a back injury.
The Texans, a preseason Super Bowl pick by some experts, now have to win out just to have a chance to make the playoffs. It's an unlikely scenario, but they do get the play the Jaguars (1-9) twice in 12 days.
Kickoff for Sunday's game in Houston is set for 1 p.m. EST and the game will be televised on CBS.
Here’s a look at the Texans:
Last week: lost to Oakland 28-23.
Coach: Gary Kubiak, eighth season (61-59).
Offensive coordinator: Rick Dennison.
Defensive coordinator: Wade Phillips.
Series record: Texans lead 13-9.
THREE PLAYERS TO KNOW ON OFFENSE
QB Case Keenum: He will make his fifth career start against the Jaguars. Keenum, an undrafted free agent from Houston, has thrown for 992 yards and eight touchdowns with only one interception since taking over for Matt Schaub.
WR Andre Johnson: He has persevered through Schaub’s horrible year and the inexperience of T.J. Yates and Keenum and is on the verge of his seventh 1,000-yard season. He needs just 34 yards to reach that plateau. He’s also on pace to tie his career high of 115 receptions (2008).
RB Ben Tate: With Arian Foster done for the season because of a back injury, Tate is the Texans’ top back. His stats right now are nearly identical to Foster’s: Tate has 122 carries for 543 yards and one touchdown while Foster has 121 carries for 542 yards and one touchdown. Both are averaging 4.5 yards per carry. It’s the touchdowns, however, that are the problem. The Texans have rushed for only two all season.
THREE PLAYERS TO KNOW ON DEFENSE
DE J.J. Watt: He leads the team in tackles (47), sacks (8.5) and forced fumbles (three). However, he has not been as effective as he was last season when he knocked down 16 passes. He has just four knockdowns this season, three of which came in the first two weeks of the season.
OLB Whitney Mercilus: The loss of ILB Brian Cushing has been hard for the Texans to overcome, but Mercilus has done a solid job in trying to help replace Cushing’s production. He has 4.5 sacks, which is just 1.5 sacks shy of the 6.0 he had as a rookie last season.
CB Johnathan Joseph: The Texans' best corner has knocked down 11 passes and appears to be completely over the sports hernias that bothered him throughout 2012. He has been a factor in Kareem Jackson’s development as well.
Kubiak coached the team from the press box in the Oakland game in his return from a mini-stroke. … The Texans have forced just eight turnovers (four fumbles, four interceptions). … Opponents have scored a league-high eight touchdowns on returns. … The Texans’ eight-game losing streak is the longest in franchise history. Houston has won five in a row over Jacksonville. The Jaguars’ last victory in the series came on Nov. 14, 2010.