New York Jets: Houston Texans

Texans claim Sapp on waivers

November, 16, 2013
A Ricky Sapp-for-Ed Reed trade? Basically, that's what happened this week between the New York Jets and Houston Texans.

Sapp, released Thursday to make room for Reed, was claimed on waivers late Friday by the Texans. Maybe Sapp will become the answer to a trivia question some day, who knows?

A defensive end/outside linebacker hybrid, Sapp played in five games for the Jets this season, failing to record a tackle. He played only 17 defensive snaps, but managed to record four quarterback hits.

The Jets will enter Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills with only three outside linebackers on the roster -- Calvin Pace, Quinton Coples and Troy Davis. The fourth outside 'backer, Garrett McIntyre, is out with a knee injury.

Slauson: Block on Cushing clean

October, 10, 2012
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Jets left guard Matt Slauson believes he delivered a legal cut block on Houston linebacker Brian Cushing during Monday night's loss to the Texans. Cushing, Houston's leading tackler, suffered a torn ACL on the play and will miss the remainder of the season.

The legality of the hit has been debated as there's been discussion about whether Slauson clipped or used a clean cut block on Cushing. No flag was thrown on the play.

Brian Cushing
Andrew Mills/The Star-Ledger/US PresswireBrian Cushing tore his ACL on the play.
"Every coach I've ever had has taught to cut on the backside of an outside zone play," Slauson said Wednesday. "I don't know why this is a big deal. I feel bad that Cushing got hurt, that wasn't my intent at all, but I got to do my job."

In the second quarter of Monday's 23-17 loss, the Jets used their wildcat package and ran with Bilal Powell. Slauson attempts to block Cushing but runs by him, and later takes him off his feet with a cut block as Cushing tries to pursue the ball.

Slauson said he has been told by his coaches that it was a clean block and said he would be surprised if the league decided to fine him for it. The league can still penalize Slauson although no flag was thrown.

"I wasn't trying to hurt him obviously," Slauson said. "I must have just caught him by surprise. Unfortunately things like that happen."

Jets Head coach Rex Ryan also said it was a legal block and added that his team doesn't cut very often. He explained that some teams, like Houston, use cut blocks on lots of their runs and it's a technique that is taught. He expressed sympathy for Cushing, as well as the NFL.

"With us, clearly, it was a thing that was unintentional and I feel terrible for Brian and for the league," Ryan said. "The league loses when you lose a player like that."

After Cushing's injury, discussion arose about the block as well as measures put in place to defend defensive players. Ryan commended the league for improvements it has made in that regard, such as eliminating high-low blocks on defensive linemen.

Packers linebacker Clay Matthews tweeted about the NFL having a double standard when it comes to protecting defensive lineman on below the waist blocks, and said the league needs to do a better job protecting players on both sides of the ball. Cushing's father, Brian, echoed similar sentiments to USA Today.

Slauson said he hadn't heard about the backlash with regards to his play, but didn't speak on it.

He said: "I have no reaction to it."

Texans' Watt comes up big vs. Jets

October, 9, 2012
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- J.J. Watt claims the Houston Texans’ defense isn’t a one-man show.

Stop being so modest, J.J.

In the Texans' 23-17 victory over the New York Jets on Monday night, the 23-year-old defensive end stuffed the stat sheet, recording six tackles, a sack and two batted passes -- one of which was a game-changer.

[+] EnlargeJ.J. Watt
Andrew Mills/US PresswireJ.J. Watt
Playing in just his second NFL season, Watt leads the league with 8.5 sacks and five batted passes, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

“It’s kind of scary that we’ve come to expect it out of him, because he’s doing it every week and he’s been consistent with it,” Texans tight end Owen Daniels said. “He’s been ballin’ and hopefully he keeps on doing that.”

If he does, Watt might have a shot at not only winning Defensive Player of the Year, but league MVP as well.

ESPN analyst Jon Gruden has called Watt “the best player at any position I have watched on tape this year.”

Said Houston coach Gary Kubiak: “He’s exceptional.”

It only took one play to see that.

The Jets appeared as though they were going to tie the score at 14 late in the first half, but Watt got his hand on a Mark Sanchez pass and Brice McCain intercepted it. McCain took it back 86 yards to set up a field goal as time expired. The Texans never relinquished their 17-7 halftime lead.

“I wasn’t getting a great pass rush on that play, so I stuck my hand up, tipped the ball, it went right to Brice and he almost took it all the way,” Watt said. “That’s a big play. They were about to get points, and then we get points.”

Watt also got his hands on a third-quarter Sanchez pass that would’ve ended up in the arms of Chaz Schilens for a touchdown. Instead, the Jets had to settle for a field goal.

“You can’t throw it over my head!” Watt was seen yelling after the game. “I was excited, in the moment, and it was a great way to end the game.”

It wasn’t easy, but the Texans are now 5-0. And they have that undefeated record because Watts is leading the way on D.

“That’s a tough football team over there," Watt said, "and it shows a lot of character about our team that we can go into a tough environment up here in New York and win a ballgame that goes all the way down to the end.”

Scouting report: Early look at the Texans

October, 4, 2012

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- It doesn't get any easier for the Jets, who host the Texans (4-0) Monday night. A quick look at the Texans:

1. We could throw out a bunch of impressive numbers, but we'll limit it to a few. The Texans, off to the best start in franchise history, have a league-best point differential -- plus-70. They haven't squandered a lead and they've trailed for only 18 minutes, 52 seconds out of 240 minutes.

2. The Texans' defense, headed by coordinator Wade Phillips, is ranked No. 1 in the league. Their pass defense is terrific. In fact, they've allowed only 6.0 yards per pass attempt, tied for best in the league. Their top player is DE J.J. Watt, whom Rex Ryan believes is the early frontrunner for NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He leads the league with 7.5 sacks, including 6.5 in pass rushes of four or fewer players, per ESPN Stats & Information. That means he can get to the quarterback without the assistance of blitzes.

3. Statistically, the Texans are the most run-heavy offense in the league. Arian Foster leads the way with 380 yards and five TDs, thriving in a zone-blocking scheme. They use the outside stretch play, which could pose problems for the Jets' beleaguered run defense. QB Matt Schaub, who has won eight straight starts (dating to last season), relies heavily on play-action. They'll run, run, run, and then he'll go over the top to WR Andre Johnson off play-action. He also has a dangerous weapon in TE Owen Daniels. The knock against Schaub is that he doesn't handle pressure well.

4. Here's something for the Jets: They're 5-0 all-time against the Texans. The Rex Ryan era opened in 2009 with a win in Houston.

Brunell out vs. Texans

August, 15, 2011
Jets backup QB Mark Brunell, with an injured finger on his left (throwing) hand, won't play Monday night against the Houston Texans.

Mark Sanchez will start and play about a quarter. Next in will be rookie Greg McElroy, a seventh-round pick from Alabama. Drew Willy, a first-year free agent, will be available for mop-up duty.

It's believed that Brunell, 40, was injured Saturday in practice. The team hasn't commented on the nature of the injury.