GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Texans desperately need a win right now, along with some realistic hope they can actually engineer one and halt a depressing six-game losing streak.
Having fallen to 1-6 overall and 0-5 with rookie quarterback Davis Mills as the starter, the Texans plan to have veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor return to practice Wednesday. Taylor has been sidelined since suffering a Grade 2 hamstring strain while running for a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns in Week 2. The Texans won their only game of the season with Taylor under center against the Jacksonville Jaguars and were leading the Browns at halftime when Taylor exited the game.
"We need a lift," Texans coach David Culley said Monday during his weekly press conference at NRG Stadium.
Culley reiterated that there's no guarantee Taylor will be able to play Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams and has previously said Taylor would need a ramp-up period to avoid a potential setback with his injured left leg. Taylor has made significant progress recently, though, and there is some optimism that he could return as soon as this week.
"I don't know if he'll be able to go, but he will practice on Wednesday," Culley said. "We'll just take it day by day."
A former Pro Bowl selection, Taylor completed 10 of 11 passes for 125 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions for a 144.3 passer rating before having to leave the Browns game at halftime. Taylor completed 70.5 percent of his throws for 416 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions for a career-high 122.9 passer rating before the injury.
Mills is bracing for potentially being replaced and didn't sound emotional about the pending decision. Obviously, the strong-armed third-round draft pick from Stanford wants to stay on the field.
“I mean whatever decision is made, with whoever we are playing, that’s up to coach and the front office," Mills said. "I know that both of us are willing to do what it takes for the team to win. You never know, obviously. I think experience was the biggest thing for me. I’m getting that right now, and I’ve definitely grown from before I was playing. I’m willing to do whatever it takes for the team to win."
Mills completed 23 of 32 passes for only 135 yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions for a 79.6 passer rating, but lost a fumble against the Cardinals. He has passed for 1,047 yards, five touchdowns and seven interceptions for a 74.4 passer rating.
“I think I’ve continued to progress," Mills said. "I feel like I’ve been playing better out there. Obviously, protected the football a little better this week, had the one fumble. Obviously want that back, Just have to keep making smart decisions with the football and keep rolling.”
Culley emphasized that the Texans, who have been outscored 102-8 in their past three road losses, need to stick together and maintain cohesiveness.
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"I've been there, and I know that if you stay the course, and you get the things corrected that needs to be corrected, it will get turned around," Culley said. "I believe that. This football team knows that I've been there and done that, and they believe in what we're preaching.
"A word that we use all the time is block out the outside, what's happening and what's being said. Basically, the most important thing is what's inside this locker room, and we don't ever talk about it."
Culley also said Sunday that more changes could be coming to the personnel.
The Texans benched right guard Max Scharping as he was dominated by defensive end J.J. Watt and replaced him with Justin McCray. More changes could be coming.
“We’re going to re-evaluate everything that we’re doing from coaching them,” Culley said. “We’ll make sure that we got the right guys that are in there. I know we’re limited in what we’re playing with, but we’ll look and see and try to get the best combination.
"We’ll keep working through that with practice, making sure we’re getting the right guys out there and the guys that will be out there that give us the best chance to win and not do some of the things that we’re doing with bad football.”
Culley's stance of a player not losing their job because of getting injured has been welcomed by veteran players inside the Texans' locker room.
"I respect it and I appreciate it," said running back Mark Ingram Jr., a three-time Pro Bowl selection. "There's a lot of things you can control and can't control and one thing you can't control is injuries. To have a coach that believes in you and once you get healthy to start off where you left back, I think that is a blessing. That's someone that understands football.
"That's someone that understands the pedigree of football. Injuries are inevitable in football. To have a coach who believes in his guy and has his guy's back when they have an injury, that's something that's a blessing and something a lot of guys would appreciate."
Wide receiver Brandin Cooks emphasized that he's not playing any favorites on the pending quarterback decision.
“Love T, love Davis,” Cooks said. “At the end of the day, I love all my teammates. That’s a decision only a coach can make, that’s who I’ll put my trust in.”