With six straight defeats to their name, it's far easier to identify the areas where the Houston Texans don't need to improve rather than listing off where they do.
That being said, coach David Culley was asked on Monday what the biggest thing is he's looking for his team to improve upon following Sunday's 31-5 loss at the Arizona Cardinals as they head into Week 8 to host the LA Rams.
"There’s actually three things and I got them right here," Culley said.
"The first one is the penalties. It’s been a deal with us from the start. We’re working on that every day that we are on the field, to concentrate and get that taken care of. We haven’t done a good job of getting that done yet. That’s the first focus that we are going to make sure moving forward that we find exactly what that is, our coaching staff, and get our players to where we are eliminating those. It’s killing us on first and second down on offense and we’ve had some untimely penalties on defense."
Penalties have cost the Texans dearly all season with 51 for 454 yards. In fact, penalties were a supposed emphasis of Culley's during Houston's first preseason scrimmage, saying at the time "that's bad football and we're not going to play bad football."
Frequently playing behind the chains thanks to costly penalties. This has only hurt any attempt to gain momentum on offense, particularly since Davis Mills stepped in at quarterback - although it looks as if his time as starter may be about to end.
Moving on, and his second key to improvement is to "eliminate the big plays."
"The question is, ‘Well how do you eliminate the big plays? Why are the big plays happening?’" Culley said. "They are happening sometimes simply because that we’ve had some miscommunication. I go back to the penalties. We got to eliminate those kinds of things."
No surprises here.
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The last three road losses, in particular, have been dominated by big plays, playing a big part in this demoralizing stat: In the last three road games, the Texans have been outscored 102-8.
In total, the Texans have allowed 27 passes for over 20 yards, five for over 40, and 12 touchdowns.
Rushing, they've allowed four of over 20 and one of over 40 to go with another - this time league-leading - 12 touchdowns.
And to complete his trio of key areas of improvement Culley identified tackling, which given that the Texans lead the NFL in missed tackles with 50... is logical.
"Whether it’s on special teams or on defense, we have to be better at tackling," Culley said. "Some of those big plays are happening, we’re having them for short gains, and they are getting big gains because we are missing tackles."
Not to be too 'glass half empty,' but these aren't new issues. As such, you can be sure this isn't the first time he'll have told his players the importance of improving in these areas.
So if any fans out there are hoping for a drastic improvement over the next week, they may be setting themselves up for disappointment... especially against a team as good as LA.
These bad habits will take time to work themselves out. And even if that isn't accomplished this season, fear not.
If Deshaun Watson is traded at some point prior to the draft, the Texans may well end up with a vast draft haul of fresh young talent to kickstart next season's rebuild of this year's rebuild.