Concerns Brewing in Houston
Patrick D. Starr
The Houston Texans are sitting at 10-4 and in the midst of their best season of their short franchise history. They just had their 7 game win streak ended by the Carolina Panthers, and the Texans must adjust on the run.
Trying to fix their issues the Texans must get ready for the Indianapolis Colts this Thursday night on a short week. The Texans had 17 players on Monday that did not practice or were limited in what they could do for workouts. There are plenty of issues to correct, and this will be corrections on the run. It looks like the Texans will be concentrating on the mental part of the game instead of their normal schedule according to Gary Kubiak on Monday night.
With this said there seems to be some growing concerns unfolding before our eyes, but it could be corrected in the last two games to give the Texans a fighting chance in the playoffs.
1. The pass rush has been no one else but Connor Barwin on a consistent basis the past few months. Brooks Reed, Antonio Smith, J.J. Watt and others must get back to putting pressure on quarterbacks and putting hits and sacks on them. Barwin can't be a one man show, and he needs help quick. Since the beginning of November Barwin has accounted for 8.5 sacks of the teams 18 sacks in that time frame.
2. Arian Foster's fumble issues have put the Texans in some bad spots in games. He has fumbled on the opening drive twice which both resulted in touchdowns against the Jaguars and Panthers. Foster will have to be the man in the running game because of his ability to run and catch out of the backfield. There is no apparent reason for his struggles, but his slipping on the field is getting old. Foster is too good of a player to be inconsistent, and despite his struggles he eclipsed the 1,000 yard barrier for the second time in his career.
3. Neil Rackers has all of sudden forgot how to kick field goals. He has missed 6 this season, and some have been in important situations. His struggles are between the 40-49 yard range where he is 3-7, his other misses came from 30-39 yard and 50+ range. If you look at Rackers history he has been inconsistent through out his career. There is reason to think that the new holder in Matt Turk could be the issue, but he has missed 2 with Turk and 4 with Brett Hartmann.
4. The wide receiver position is a huge reason for concern. Kevin Walter has been the only one to step up his game with Andre Johnson out. Jacoby Jones, Bryant Johnson have been pedestrian during this time. It was so bad that Derrick Mason was cut loose for rookie Jeff Maehl because of lack of production, and I am having a hard time believing it was for special teams purposes. There is no down the field threat with the wide receivers and none of them besides Johnson demands a double team. The running game opens up with Johnson on the field, but when it comes to clutch situations other recievers need to step up their game, and besides Walter we are still waiting. Andre Johnson has only played in 6 games and he leads Texans wide recivers in recieving yards for the season.