Texans morning huddle: Week 4 game day is here


The Houston Texans take their show on the road today and the morning huddle gets you up to speed with what to expect. Today we look to see if running back Arian Foster can return as well as take a peek at what the game plan could be as the Texans take on the undefeated Atlanta Falcons.

Texans vs. Falcons: What’s the Game Plan for Houston? – by Brian McDonald, Bleacher Report

"Offensive Game PlanWith or without Arian Foster on the field—he was listed as questionable at the time this article was written—the Houston Texans will have to run the ball well to win Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.Saying a team has to run the ball to win is cliche, but sometimes the simple answer is the correct answer. Going to the air early and often isn’t a bad idea if the passing game is a strength of your team or a weakness of your opponent’s defense, but that doesn’t apply for the Texans.During the Texans’ two losses, they rushed the ball for a combined 159 yards and lost the time-of-possession battle by a total of 15 minutes and 36 seconds. In their win against Tampa Bay, the Texans rushed for 186 yards and won time of possession by just over 12-and-a-half minutes.Winning those two stats is obviously key to the Texans’ success.Ryan Mallett has a big arm, but at this point in his career he’s not the kind of quarterback you want attempting 58 passes like he did in the Texans’ Week 2 loss to Carolina.As they’re currently built, the Texans need to run the ball to control the clock since they’re not going to win many shootouts. They also need to run it effectively to set up the play-action pass and run it often to hopefully limit mistakes that lead to turnovers and points for the other team.In a way, the Texans offense needs to be their defense this week.The Texans defense has faced 43 total offensive possessions from their opponents this season.The Texans have turned the ball over four times this year; their opponents have scored a touchdown after each one of those four turnovers.Of the 60 points allowed by the Texans defense through three games, 28 of those points—nearly half—have come off their four turnoversThe 28 points on the four possessions that came off of turnovers mark seven points per possession—compared to just 32 points allowed on the 39 possessions that didn’t follow a turnover—or 1.21 points per possession.That stat deserves repeating: The Texans have allowed just 1.21 points per possession on opponent drives that didn’t start after a turnover.It’s also important to remember that all four of their turnovers—three interceptions and one fumble—came from their quarterback.So even if the running game isn’t as successful as it was last week, the Texans must stick with the ground game to prevent game-killing mistakes and hopefully keep the Falcons’ explosive offense off the field."

Unbeaten Falcons will be missing 4 players vs. Texans – Houston Chronicle

"The unbeaten Atlanta Falcons will be without running back Tevin Coleman, tight end Jacob Tamme and safety Ricardo Allen for Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans.The players were ruled out Friday, even though Allen (knee) got limited work at practice this week.Coleman (ribs) will miss his second straight game. Tamme (concussion) was hurt in last week’s victory at Dallas and has yet to be cleared.The Falcons (3-0) will also be without return specialist Devin Hester, who has yet to play this season because of turf toe.Linebacker Brooks Reed is expected to get his first action of the season after recovering from groin surgery. Star receiver Julio Jones (toe and hamstring) and running back Devonta Freeman (toe) are also probable after fully participating in Friday’s practice."

Arian Foster on playing Sunday: “I’ve got a chance” – by Deepi Sidhu, HoustonTexans.com

"Arian Foster feels like he has a chance to play in Sunday’s game at Atlanta after his Aug. 3 groin injury and subsequent surgery sidelined him from getting his first start of the 2015 season.“Progression is well, I think from two months ago having it off the bone to today,” Foster said of his recovery. “It feels great and so yeah, I feel like I’ve got a chance. It just depends on how it feels on Sunday.”Heading into the Week 4 matchup against the Falcons, Foster is officially listed as questionable. The All-Pro back will be a game-time decision, Bill O’Brien said Friday. Foster says he was a “full participant” in practice this week.Jonathan Grimes has been officially ruled out after not practicing all week with a knee issue. The Texans currently have just two other running backs in case Foster can’t start: Alfred Blue and Chris Polk."

Special teams as a gateway is nothing new for Brian Peters – by Tania Ganguli, ESPN

"After a minicamp change with the Chicago Bears didn’t work out, Brian Peters didn’t know if football would.He wasn’t ready to give up, though. So he did some odd jobs, working on a demolition crew and as a personal trainer, staying in shape in case another opportunity came.Peters slogged through a winding path to get to an NFL active roster through the United Football League, the Arena Football League, the practice squad of a CFL team and then its active roster. Now he’s with the Texans, signed off the Vikings’ practice squad, with a chance to stick if he can make the most of it, especially if he makes an impact on special teams. He has before.“I knew I could play at each level that I came to,” Peters said. “It sounds kind of cocky, but it’s just the mindset you kind of have to have. I’ve been an underdog in situations where I worked my way up from the practice squad in Canada to get an active roster spot, playing special teams to start. It’s a process and I’ve always had hope. I’ve had some bumps in the road and some discouragements and been able to work through it to climb the football ladder.”Peters, who was a safety in college, put on about 20 pounds as he made a transition to linebacker. He spent time in the AFL and UFL before heading over to Canada to play for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.“After I got cut by the UFL, that kind of sucked,” Peters said. “Then obviously in Canada, they put me on the practice squad and I kind of worked through it.“… It kind of enters your mind to start formulating a Plan B, but I think I have a good degree to fall back on and I have a good network at Northwestern, so at the end of the day I think I’m going to be all right, so I’ve always kind of had that in my back pocket. I’ve been able to go wholeheartedly into the opportunity I’ve been served up with.”Peters made enough of a mark on special teams to be called up to the Roughriders’ active roster, then made his mark there and on defense. He was the third player in CFL history to lead his team in both defensive tackles and special-teams tackles in the same season."

Next: Texans vs. Falcons: Key to Atlanta defense