Andre Johnson and Wade Phillips on Track to Return
Patrick D. Starr
The Houston Texans seem to be a team searching for answers with two unfortunate losses against the Panthers and Colts the past two weeks. Already assured of a playoff spot, the Texans need a good showing this Sunday against their division rival the Tennessee Titans.
The Titans are on the verge, with some help, to make the playoffs and possibly set up a Wild Card showdown with the Texans the following week. Despite all of the "so-called" issues the Texans have run into the past couple weeks, there is help on the horizon. All signs are pointing to the return of Andre Johnson and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.
Johnson had been hobbled by hamstring issues all season, and his current issue has kept him out three weeks. It has been said that he could have gone against the Colts last Thursday, but Gary Kubiak still wants to see Johnson on the field on Wednesday during practice before he gives the thumbs up for the Sunday.
It will be a welcome sight for a sputtering offense to get one full game with Johnson in the game. It will also take some pressure off of quarterback T.J. Yates with his biggest downfield threat back in the lineup. Even if Johnson returns, expect a snap count to be on him and to be pulled before the final whistle. Either way it will be good to have Johnson back on the field and ready for his first playoff appearance.
Even bigger is the possible return of defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, and without him the Texans are 0-2 this past two weeks. Phillips had a procedure done on his kidney and had his gall bladder removed after the big win against Cincinnati. Linebacker coach Reggie Herring has been calling the defense since then, but it seems like the defense and the team has lost it's edge.
Today Phillips returned to practice for about 2 hours and talked to the defense about their performance from last game. Kubiak has said they want to see how he feels this week and if he is up to it he will be calling the game from the booth. Phillips has been a huge key for the Texans turn around and without him the defense seemed to be putting more pressure on themselves than normal. Hopefully the return of Phillips will get the Texans back on track and ready for the Titans this coming Sunday, and in position to finish the season 11-5.