Aug 23, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) calls a play in the second quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Texans defeated the Broncos 18-17. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Sunday marks the first test of what Bill O’Brien is trying to do in Houston. The Texans and their fans have waited nearly a year now for a regular season win. The Texans haven’t had a win since September 15th, 2013 in a game that mattered. That was an overtime win over the much hated Titans. When the Redskins and Texans clash, it’s going to be a noisy affair as the stadium will be filled with eager fans wanting to see the new look Texans erase a year of agony. Here are the Texans three keys to winning against the Redskins
The arm of Ryan Fitzpatrick.
This smart Harvard graduate has to know the fans are dubious. The moniker of Fitztragic and Fitzmagic is partially the product of cynical fans and his own performance over the last 10 years in the NFL. A week ago the Texans had raw rookie Tom Savage who isn’t ready for prime time just yet and local favorite Case Keenum who didn’t have the support of the coaching staff. That’s changed with the arrival of Ryan Mallett, who has spent the last four years in New England. If he has a Fitztragic outing, Mallett is waiting in the wings and O’Brien trusts Mallet. Fitzpatrick has to get out there, and get it done. Sharp command, smart decisions and no mistakes trying to make the impossible happen.
The secondary needs to be fast.
The Redskins have DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon just chomping at the bit to go against the Texans secondary. If the offensive line can delay Watt and Clowney just long enough they have the speed and the skills to get behind the defense and make Sunday a very painful afternoon. After watching the Texans this preseason, it’s been obvious the defense hasn’t really congealed on what Crennel is trying to make happen. The good news is the personnel changes and return of Jonathon Joseph means we might see a far sharper secondary that could surprise a lot of people.
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This isn’t his rookie year, he’s not as likely to go dashing head first down the field and he’s gotten smarter about not endangering himself in the pursuit of that extra yard. Don’t think that he won’t take off in a flash if the option presents itself. That’s going to be the big challenge, not losing sight of rush lanes and keeping RGIII boxed in. With Watt and Clowney the pressure is going to come quick and I expect we’ll see RGIII scampering around a bit. Can the rest of the front seven keep him from making that big play with his feet? That might just be the deciding factor in this game.
A lot of chatter on the web has the Texans favored to win this game. I’m more cautious. Both teams are under new management, both teams have tried to shore up their weaknesses while enhancing strength. The Redskins have the better quarterback going into this, the Texans the better defense. I figure this is going to be a lopsided game in favor of whichever team executes better. Will the Texans repeat the performance in Arizona or will we see the team that came out against the Falcons? Fitzmagic or Fitztragic? I’m betting on Fiztmagic.
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