Well, thankfully, Week 1’s performance only counts as one loss in the standings. As Emmitt Smith would say, the Texans “got debacled.” In hoping to avoid a 0-2 start, the Texans must win on the round in Tennessee, a place they have not been successful. Victory may be tough, but starting 0-2 is worse. There are simple things the Texans must do to win this Sunday.
1. Get the ball to Andre Johnson. 4 catches for 35 yards is not enough. Not for a sold out home opener. Not even for a half. Getting the ball to Andre Johnson was difficult against Jets CB Darrelle Revis, and Courtland Finnegan may prove to be even tougher. But the coaches simply must find away to get the ball to the best play maker on the team. Put him in the slot, put him in motion, put him in the backfield. Find some way to get him the ball. OF course teams will be geared up to stop him. He had over 100 catches last year. He’s at worst the third best WR in the league. As Keyshawn Johnson might say, “Thrown him the damn ball.”
2. Running game. Is Steve Slaton no longer the threat he was last year? Is the added 15 pounds slowing him down? Is the blocking not effective? These questions must be answered. Alex Gibbs, the respected and fiery veteran offensive line coach, has been succesful every where he goes. The Texans ran effectively last season. By process of elimination, my concern drifts toward Slaton. Maybe mixing in more Chris Brown could help Slaton. Maybe some short passes to Slaton would help. Maybe passing to set up the run would help.
3. Special teams. Lining up and slugging it out with the Titans barely worked for the Super Bowl champion Steelers. Maybe the Texans can get the offense going and the defense can bottle up Chris Johnson and LenDale White (I’m not concerned about the Kerry Collins-led passing game, although rookie Kenny Britt, from Rutgers, looks like a real play maker with speed to burn) and maybe they can’t. Wouldn’t a big special teams play help ease the burden? Where has Jacoby Jones gone? Is he so pre-occupied with ensuring he catches thw ball that he can’t make any moves up field? What about the Andre Davis who returned two kickoffs for touchdowns against the Browns? It doesn’t even have to be a touchdown, but a big return can provide field position and much needed momentum.
4. As an extra special bonus, I’ve added another key to victor. It’s embarrassing to have to mention this, but the Texans, specifically the secondary, has got to tackle. I know they know how to tackle. They wouldn’t be in the NFL if they couldn’t tackle (and they are not named Dieon Sanders). Seriously, going for the knock out, Sports Center shot is nice, but wrap up first. Make the tackle and try to rip the ball away. Maybe stand the opponent up so a teammate (Demeco Ryans, perhaps) can come over for the kill shot. But, if you can’t do that, wrap your guy up, put your head across the bow, and tackle. We all remember high school coaches yelling these fundamentals to us. Surely the Texans secondary can follow suit. Come on.