INDIANAPOLIS - Houston Texans special teams coordinator Frank Ross emphasized a few things Thursday morning while reflecting on mistakes from a narrow loss Sunday to the New England Patriots: technique, fundamentals and aggressiveness.
During a 25-22 loss to the New England Patriots, kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn, attempting his first kicks of the season after missing the first three games of the season on injured reserve, missed a pair of extra points and a 56-yard field goal.
And Texans punter Cameron Johnston, after initially looking like he was going to execute a fake punt, backed up and punted the football off of safety Terrence Brooks' helmet for zero yards.
The costly miscues contributed to the defeat as the Texans lost their fourth game in a row.
Despite the setbacks, Ross said that what happened won't change the Texans' opportunistic approach to the kicking game.
"We're always going to attack and look for ways to create opportunities for our players to have an advantage," said Ross, a former Patriots scout now facing another former employer, the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. "That's never going to change. We're always going to be on the attack."
Signed to a four-year, $17.6 million contract that includes $9 million guaranteed and a $4 million base salary in 2021, the former Lou Groza Award winner from UCLA made 87.1 percent of his field goals last season, going 27 of 31, and 37 of 40 extra points last season.
Explaining the misses from Fairbairn, Ross said it had nothing to do with the since-healed leg injury.
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"Just a little bit of an overcompensation, corrected a little bit too much," Ross said. "Nothing better than seeing a kicker self-correct and do it the next time with the proper self-adjustments.
"No, I don't think (the injury) has anything to do with it. Anytime you go out on the field regardless of how you're feeling, it's the N FL. When you're out there on Sundays, you're expected to do your job. Nobody wants to do their job better than themselves, right? Those guys want to perform. That's not something coming from an injury. We've just got to line up, kick it and kick it well."
In four NFL seasons, Fairbairn has made 105 of 125 field goals and 149 of 164 extra points.
Ross said it's about staying the course, not changing the techniques or abandoning what's worked in the past.
"Not just Ka'imi, but any kicker, if you don't have a process that you're comfortable with sticking to and you're just, all of a sudden, shooting from the hip, I would project that would not make you very successful for very long," Ross said. "Stick to the process and just do what you do well, continue to focus and self correct and more forward simple as that. If you start changing who you are, you aren't going to be able to be that consistent. The most successful kickers are exactly that."
On the deflected punt, Ross said it all comes back to execution and not being afraid to seize an apparent opportunity.
"We are here to create opportunities for our players and put them in position to be successful, to create an advantage," Ross said. "We're going to continue to do that. The way that happened, a game ago, we obviously need to move forward. Those things happen. You just got to execute them better. Creating an advantage, we had an opportunity there in a look that we got. We just got to execute it a little bit better. It's not going to change anything about who we are.
"Our scheme is our scheme. Our ability to execute is the primary focus there. Whatever look they gave us, whatever look we gave them, everybody has their adjustments and checks. Whether it was the exact look we wanted or not, it's inconsequential to the point of us executing."