Texans morning huddle: Game day is here!
The Houston Texans will face off against the Kansas City Chiefs in just a matter of hours. The 2015 season is finally upon us, and to get ready for the game we have a collection of stories for you to check out related to the Texans including a look at the game from the opposing sideline.
First Glance: Texans vs. Chiefs – by Drew Dougherty, HoustonTexans.com
"The Texans host the Chiefs on Sunday at NRG Stadium. The noon CT kickoff pits a pair of rugged defensive teams against each other, and there are a variety of storylines to follow.Here are five things to watch in the 2015 season opener.1. Clowney Comin’-The first overall pick will play against Kansas City. After a star crossed rookiecampaign, in which he played just four games, the first overall pick of 2014 is back after a lengthy rehab from microfracture knee surgery. He’s excited to be back, and his teammates are as well.“Oh yeah, they’re always telling me, ‘I’m just looking forward, ready for you to play, I’m ready to see you out there,’” Clowney said. “Everybody’s ready to see me out there, I’m ready to see myself out there and performing and playing.”The outside linebacker returned to practice with his teammates on August 17, and has steadily seen his reps go up on a daily basis. The Texans have seen flashes of the playmaking pass rusher, and can’t waitto see him in action.“He’s an animal, man,” safety Quintin Demps said. “I like him a lot. He’ll be good. I’ve only been here about a month, so we’ll see. I’m excited. I’m looking forward to it.”Defensive lineman Vince Wilforkhas a locker next to Clowney, and has been impressed with his return from injury.“He’s been working his tail off all camp, on the practice field, off the practice field, in the film room, off the field,” Wilfork said. “In all the things he’s been through right now to come here and be a professional the way he has, it shows a lot about how much he’s grown over the year.”2. Man in the Middle- Speaking of Wilfork, Sunday will be the first game action for him as a Texan. BillO’Brien kept Wilfork, J.J. Watt and Johnathan Joseph out of all three preseason games. The veteran defender is amped up to get into the game.“It’s just going to be a lot of excitement going into the first game being able to play home, for me, being able to play in a different crowd,” Wilfork said. “I heard how crazy they get so I’m looking forward to that.”Inside linebacker Brian Cushing will likely benefit from the attention Wilfork is bound to get from opposing offensive linemen. Cushing is impressed by his teammate’s athleticism.“You don’t play that many years, get drafted that high and go to as many Pro Bowls as he did if he wasn’t athletic,” Cushing said. “He’s a specimen to be that big and move like that. It’s been really cool to watch him and play behind him.”"
Behind Enemy (Side)lines: Kansas City Chiefs – by Deepi Sidhu, HoustonTexans.com
"Behind Enemy (Side)lines is an ongoing series with the opposing team’s beat writer. This week, Terez Paylor, Chiefs beat writer for the Kansas City Star, gives insight on the Texans first opponent of 2015.Sport’s Illustrated’s Peter King had the Chiefs winning the AFC West this year, though he still had Denver reaching the AFC championship game in his MMQB column. What factors are contributing to this upward trend for the Chiefs?Paylor: This is Year 3 of the current regime so typically you get a chance to bring in your own players, your own people and that matters. You’ve really got a ton of the guys to fit the system that you like and Andy Reid is one of the better game day play callers in the league. He managed to help the team overcome some offensive-line difficulties last year. Now with a better receiving corps, the offense should get better. The defense is pretty good as well, obviously with Justin Houston and Tamba Hali.At the end of the day, these guys can score points and they can rush the passer and if you can do that in this league, you’ve got a chance to win a lot of games.Alex Smith and Reid are also now entering their third year together. What makes a quarterback like Smith successful in Reid’s system? Why do those two work so well together?Paylor: Alex is a really smart guy so he can process a lot of information and Andy Reid has a pretty voluminous playbook. I mean, it’s pretty complicated but Alex can handle that. He’s cautious with the ball and doesn’t turn it over. For the most part, Andy Reid is good enough at putting his quarterback in positions to win so you’ve got a quarterback that can execute the system even if he doesn’t make a huge amount of plays like say, Aaron Rodgers.Jamaal Charles is entering his eighth season. He recently said he wanted to play another six years or so. How has he looked this offseason and how does a guy like that keep evolving his game?Paylor: He’s just an elite back. He’s very quick, great vision, hard worker, all that. I think the important thing for him is making sure he hadn’t take a lot of hits this preseason. They’ve done a good job protecting him. That’s a good thing. He believes he can play four or five more years and he’s 28 years old. We’re going to see. We’re definitely going to see. I think Charles is well-served by this offense. Reid likes to throw the ball a lot to the running back, so that makes sense. As long as he stays healthy, he’s in for another year."
Arian Foster: I still feel this will be my best season – by Dan Hanzus, NFL.com
"Arian Foster wishes he could be on the field with his teammates when the Texans open their regular season on Sunday against the Chiefs, but the star running back knows he has to listen to his body.“When you’re dealing with muscle injuries they tend to re-occur if you’re not careful, so it’s not something you can push through,” Foster said during a candid session with reporters on Thursday. “I’ve played entire seasons with torn meniscus, I’ve played an entire season with a broken collarbone. I’ve played an entire season with things that you can push through but muscle injuries there’s nothing you can do because it literally hinders the movement.“So as soon as I feel like the movement isn’t hindered and I’m not going to re-injure it, I’ll be out there.”Foster — working his way back from groin surgery — declined to offer any timetable on a return to action. But he spoke Thursday like someone who believes he will play a lot of football at a high level in 2015.“I think this is going to be my best year and I still feel like it will be,” he said. “It’s going to be tough because I’m going to have some ground to make up, but I was feeling the best, feeling the quickest that I felt. You can judge for yourself.”Foster also spoke of personal growth in the past year. He said he managed to overcome the feeling that he was “too cool” for counseling, and discussed the pressure that he and many other young players face on and off the field."