After a much-deserved week off to rest and recuperate, the Houston Texans begin a normal workweek today in preparation for Sunday’s contest against the Buffalo Bills. Painful for fans but necessary for the team, the Texans spent their bye week correcting small mistakes and working towards improving in several areas.
The first is that the Texans spent time trying to solve their offensive line rotation at right guard and right tackle. The Texans began employed this strategy for most of the first half of their season, using both Antoine Caldwell and Ben Jones at RG while rotating Derek Newton and Ryan Harris. The poor play of the right side of the O-line was evident early on, and has improved the past couple of weeks. However, a rotation along the O-line isn’t ideal, and in some cases can be detrimental to the continuity and flow of the offense. The Texans’ coaching staff doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to abandon the rotations just yet, but cutting down to a permanent five guys is the long-term goal.
The other area of extra focus was the Texans’ special teams. Through seven games, the Texans have gotten little to nothing out of their return units, and while the coverage teams have had their positive moments, there have been too many long returns given up. On top of that, it seems as if each week there is at least one penalty committed on a special team, and in many case several penalties. Before the bye week, the Texans did take some small steps in replacing KR/PR Trindon Holliday with WR Keshawn Martin, but an overall upgrade across the board is needed. Expect to see more starters, both offensive and defensive, playing on special teams in an attempt to sure up the third phase of the game.
Last but not least, there hasn’t been much noise on the injury front, which of course is a good sign. Everybody knows about the season-ending injury to ILB Brian Cushing, but aside from him there haven’t been any other major injuries yet this season. However, the Texans have had roughly a dozen guys each week listed with some sort of playable injury. These typically aren’t the type of injuries that force players to miss games, but they can be stepping stones toward more severe injuries. Giving players with these types of maladies a chance to rest and heal a bit decreases the chance of developing more damaging injuries.
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