'Tackling, Dummy': O'Brien On Big Texans Issue To Fix In Week 2
Anthony R Wood
Monday marked a fresh start for the Houston Texans following their 34-20 Thursday night loss to the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. As Bill O'Brien prepares his 0-1 team for a challenging Baltimore Ravens visit this week, Houston's head coach and general manager highlighted a major flaw in last week's performance that must get fixed.
"At the end of the day when you look at the game, there were 20 missed tackles," pointed out O'Brien, who went on to admit; "Too much inconsistency on offense. Special teams was OK."
That's one of those "all-three-phases'' sentences that coaches like to use. But it's also dead-on - especially when it comes to the Houston D.
Missed tackles were a particular issue against an explosive and efficient Chiefs offense, with the new-look Anthony Weaver-led Texans defense seeming to be lost and confused at times.
The Texans allowed 166 rushing yards in total, 138 of which came from rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire who had a field day amongst a sea of missed tackles.
"The Chiefs missed tackles too but not as many as we did," said O'Brien on Monday. "In the end we have to tackle better, we have to play our gap better and we just need to do a more consistent, better job at defending the run."
While there were bound to be mistakes given the lack of preseason games and the number of new additions to this lineup, the sheer number of missed tackles pushes the boundaries of 'understandable.'
Houston will be facing a different style of offense at NRG Stadium this week, with quarterback Lamar Jackson more widely known for his rushing abilities than his passing.
Saying that, the MVP Jackson did pass for 275 yards and three touchdowns against the sputtering Cleveland Browns in Week 1, so the Texans pass-rush will have to amp up the pressure.
"I think that every offense is different so with what the Chiefs were doing is different than what the Ravens are going to do but it still comes down to playing your gap and doing what the call dictates you to do, and then you’ve got to make the tackle," said O'Brien.
Consistency will be key if the Texans are to force a quick turnaround in performances. Missing blocks, tackles, and struggling against the run could cost them dearly against quality rushers like Jackson and running back Mark Ingram.
"Our scout team is going to have to do a great job of giving a really good look and we’re going to really have to play a very disciplined game," said O'Brien. "We weren’t disciplined enough on defense on Thursday night.''
The message is simple, as O'Brien knows what his team must accomplish if the Texans are to bounce back following their disappointing season opener: Tackling, dummy.