HOUSTON - Determined to find answers to their persistent problems, maintain solidarity and halt their losing ways, the Houston Texans’ players were proactive prior to the road game against the Indianapolis Colts.
They held a players-only meeting last week to discuss the myriad of issues impacting an overhauled team that went 4-12 last season.
However, the Texans dropped to 1-5 overall and lost their fifth consecutive game Sunday during a 31-3 defeat at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Veteran wide receiver Brandin Cooks said Sunday the Texans are an "undisciplined team," and coach David Culley said Monday that starts with him and the coaches continuing to emphasize eliminating mistakes.
“That’s something we’re all talking about,” Texans wide receiver Chris Moore said. “Coach Culley, that’s what he preaches every day, that we need to be a more disciplined team. We’ve got to stop shooting ourselves in the foot with penalties and turnovers. It starts in practice. Every day, we go out there and we’re just working on it. We had a player's meeting where we talked to each other and we’re trying to just get this ball rolling.
“We were just talking about how we’ve got to get this thing going, and how we’ve got to hold each other accountable, and we’ve got to have guys in there willing to turn this thing around.”
Moore said he wasn’t sure who initiated the meeting, but noted it was the entire roster.
“It was just players only and we were all in there talking,” Moore said.
Between penalties, turnovers, and busted assignments, the Texans aren’t getting the results they envisioned. Since a season-opening victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Texans are winless.
They’ve been outscored by a combined margin of 71-3 in their past two road games against the Colts and Buffalo Bills.
The flight home from Indianapolis was somber, per Moore.
Moore said that linebacker Christian Kirksey, the defensive signal caller, addressed the team after the game to try to rally its spirits.
“It was quiet,” he said. “You can tell that everybody on the plane could feel that it just sucks. Nobody in here likes to lose. We’re all professionals, we all want to win. I think the great thing about the guys in this locker room is we’re all very competitive.
"It might not seem like it to the outside world, but it hurts every single time we lost, no matter what. I applaud Kirksey because he stepped up after the game and talked to us and told us that we need to get this thing going. We just got to get going at the end of the day.”
Despite the lack of tangible results, Moore emphasized that he still believes in his teammates and is maintaining his intensity every day.
“I trust every dude in this locker room, especially because we have so many veterans, we have dudes that have been in so many different situations throughout the league,” Moore said. “We just got to find the right chemistry and right thing that gets this thing clicking. That’s really it all it comes down to at the end of the day.
“For me personally, it sucks because I’m a very competitive person. I hate losing. I’m pretty sure everybody in the locker room feels the same way. But it also gives you a drive because when we come out to practice, you can tell each week that we’re coming out to practice, we’re not losing that type of steam. We’re not coming out at practice lackadaisical or just not giving effort. We’re actually coming out to practice harder and harder every week. Eventually, this thing is going to get right. The way we’re working and the guys we have on this team, we’ll get this thing right.”
Kirksey, who played on a 13-3 playoff team last season with the Green Bay Packers, said it’s a matter of every playing being accountable and focusing on what they need to do to help the team win.
“It’s 11 men on the field at one time, I’m just trying to play my part,” Kirksey said. “I can’t make a guy a guy disciplined, that’s got to be on him. A person got to take ownership of that. All I can do is make sure I look myself in the mirror and ask myself, ‘Am I doing everything I can with my job and doing what I got to do to play my part?’ I think that every player on this team got to look themselves in the mirror as well and really ask are they really doing their job to the best of their ability?
“As Brandin said, being undisciplined, that has nothing to do with scheme, that has nothing to do with coaching. That’s all on individual play, be disciplined, do your job, minimize the penalties, be at the right place at the right time when your teammate is expecting you to be there. That’s all will and want-to. We got to find a way to be more disciplined, point blank, period."
A first-year coach, Culley concurred with that honest and accurate assessment of where the Texans stand.
“Well, that starts with me, and that starts with what I just said," Culley said. "We’ve got to do a better job as coaches in practice of making sure that we’re focusing more, that our concentration is at a higher level. And it’s not at that level that it needs to be right now. In practice, we haven’t seen a whole bunch of those kinds of things happening.
"It has happened, but we’re going to emphasize it more as a staff. We’re going to make sure they understand it more. We’re going to put them in those situations again and make sure that they understand how critical it is. And again, to change things, you’ve got to change. We have to do that moving forward in practice and making sure that we’re addressing that even more so than what we have been addressing it. Just emphasize it and let the process take care of itself.”
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