Texans morning huddle: All is not lost, Jackson good to go


Good morning Texans fans, the rough week is almost over! Well, kind of anyway. The Houston Texans have a short week as they are set to play the Indianapolis Colts tomorrow night. Let’s hope this team finds their identity and is able to shake off the bad taste in their mouths from this weekend. Until then, enjoy some Texans news links;

Houston Texans off to bad start — but all is not lost in AFC South – by Steve Wyche, NFL.com

"Ryan Mallett will start at quarterback for the Texans in Thursday night’s divisional bout against Indianapolis, but Brian Hoyer is just a 42-0 deficit away from getting another chance to replace Mallett and reclaim the starting job he lost early this season.Twenty games into the Bill O’Brien era in Houston — including an embarrassing, 48-21 thrashing at the hands of the Falcons this past Sunday — the quarterback situation is no better than it was when O’Brien arrived in 2014 and Ryan Fitzpatrick was the triggerman.Neither is the team’s identity.What are the Texans?Their record says 1-3, but was that horrendous display in Atlanta an aberration or just the tip of the iceberg?“Hard Knocks,” meet hard times.“I’ve got to do a better job of coaching,” O’Brien said many, many times on Sunday, following a game in which his team fell behind by six touchdowns, prompting him to replace Mallett with Hoyer (who opened the season as the starter, only to get benched in Week 1).This team is rife with problems, many of which sprung to a head against the Falcons. The offensive line isn’t right. The quarterback play has not been good, despite the fact that Houston currently ranks sixth in passing offense. That, of course, is a statistical mirage, with the yardage totals stemming from the high number of passes. Mallett and Hoyer have combined to throw a league-high 201 passes (with six touchdowns and four interceptions). That’s 30 more attempts than the next-closest team, Miami (which has logged 171 attempts), and we know what just went down in South Beach.Oh, and by the way, Houston has completed a league-worst 52.7 of those passes.Maybe more troubling than that: The Texans have thrown that much because they just don’t score in the first halves of games, falling behind to the point where they have to pass to make things competitive. Houston has yet to lead at halftime in 2015 — yes, including in the team’s lone victory, a 19-9 win over Tampa Bay.As poorly as that reflects on the offense, the defense — the strength of this team — has only been so-so, maybe a smidge better. Linebacker Brian Cushing and defensive end J.J. Watt have been strong, but as a unit, Houston has yet to fully come together.Houston, like a handful of other teams (Cleveland, Buffalo, St. Louis), tried to pattern itself after the Seahawks/Panthers — relying on strong defense, an abundance of takeaways and adequate quarterback play — but things have not gone as planned. However, other than the beatdown in A-Town, Houston has managed to keep things respectable in its other two losses, losing to Kansas City and Carolina by a touchdown apiece."

Kareem Jackson cleared to play – by Deepi Sidhu, HoustonTexans.com

"Kareem Jackson will start Thursday night against Indianapolis. It’s good news for the Texans defense, which saw injuries to safety Quintin Demps and outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus in Houston’s 48-21 loss to the Falcons.“Kareem Jackson passed his concussion test. He passes it Sunday and he passed it again on Monday morning so he’s not in the concussion protocol and he will be available for Thursday’s game.”Jackson, who exited Sunday’s game early, returned to practice on Tuesday. The team has a short week as they prepare for their first AFC South division game of the season. The (1-3) Texans host the (2-2) Colts on Thursday night with kickoff scheduled for 7:25 p.m. CT."

O’Brien: Foster “should be ready”; Texans must run more – by Drew Dougherty, HoustonTexans.com

"In Sunday’s loss to the Falcons, the Texans mustered 54 rushing yards on 17 carries.According to Bill O’Brien, those numbers must change.“We really need to work on the running game,” the head coach said on Monday. “We’ve got to be able to run the football.”In the win over Tampa Bay, Alfred Blue carried 31 times for 139 yards. As an offense, the Texans ran the ball 46 times. They were on the field for 36:16.In the three losses this year, the Texans have averaged 20.3 carries per contest. They held the ball for 24:41, 27:31 and 24:08 respectively in those three losses to the Chiefs, Panthers and Falcons.“What’s happened is, especially yesterday, we fell behind,” O’Brien said. “It became more of a two-minute type of game early in the game. We were in more of a no huddle mode and trying to get back in the game, which obviously we really didn’t do.”"

Anger over Texans’ underwhelming start is growing in Houston – by Tania Ganguli, ESPN

"What I’ve learned in my four years living in Houston is that this city is used to sports heartbreak.It’s also been an incredibly tolerant city when it comes to the most recent iteration of the NFL — the Texans had a wait list for season tickets even after a 2-14 season in 2013. For the Texans’ entire existence, they’ve only ever come close to being a real contender. They’ve had four winning seasons ever, the best when they went 12-4 in 2012, only to be crushed by the New England Patriots twice — once in the regular season and once in the divisional round of the playoffs.Bill O’Brien’s debut season in which he went 9-7 prompted optimism from fans who were pleasantly surprised by the seven-game turnaround. They never expected to hit a franchise low — down 42-0 after three quarters.Anger is brewing in Houston.That anger was best encapsulated by Sean Pendergast, who hosts the Texans post-game show on Sports Radio 610 in Houston and writes columns for the Houston Press, a local magazine and website. It was an impassioned monologue and you can read the whole thing here.Some excerpts:“Bill O’Brien said his goal during Hard Knocks was for this team to stop being the almost team. We almost made the play. We almost made the tackle. By the way I’m not saying anything that Bill O’Brien didn’t just say at the podium right now. Bill O’Brien said he did a bad job of coaching. They’re not the almost team anymore. They were the ‘not even close team’ today.”“Ryan Mallett has one speed. Ryan Mallett throws the ball like he’s trying to impress girls at the beach. He’s got a 95 mile an hour fastball and that’s it. And a lot of times it was skipping to guy’s feet at the game today.”"

Next: Houston Texans: Play of the game Week 4