Dunta Robinson (Getty Images)
Thus far, this is the best week of the season for the Texans. They tasted victory for the first time since last December when they defeated a Jacksonville Jaguars team that was headed for the playoffs and not playing most of their starters.
“It feels a lot better than how we felt the last few weeks,” said Texans head coach Gary Kubiak. “A lot of good things happened during the game and a very, very tough situation but had some players step up and make some great, great plays. That’s what this league is all about when you step up and make a couple of those plays and everybody feels a lot better. But, it’s a tough league and yesterday we had some guys really step up in some tough situations.”
Houston was close enough to taste victory in each of the last three football games, and when it seemed like another game would go by the books, the Houston offense stepped up and made some plays.
“This one was a very difficult one to get,” Kubiak said. “It sure looked like, with four minutes left last week, we were going to get the first one then. And then we looked like we were dead yesterday. That’s part of football. Just keep playing and you have to give yourself a chance to win.”
Houston currently sits with a 1-4 record, last place in the AFC South, but things are certainly looking up. The Texans next two opponents are the Detroit Lions and Cincinnati Bengals, who are both winless.
“Well, we know exactly what they’re going through,” Kubiak explained. “We’ve been going through the same thing. They (Detroit) went down to Minnesota yesterday and controlled the football game all day long and got beat by a pass interference call and a field goal. So, we know exactly what they’re going through. They’re the same group of guys that were 6-2 last year after eight games that was playing very, very well. We know for a fact, I don’t have to tell our guys, we’ll have to play better than we played yesterday to beat them. We have to continue to clean up our football and continue to clean up what we’re doing to have a chance to continue to be successful.”
The Texans may catch an additional break as Lions quarterback Jon Kitna missed last Sunday’s loss against Minnesota, and could miss this week as well. If Kitna can’t go, the inexperienced Dan Orlovsky will take the snaps for Detroit. Orlovsky completed just 12 of 21 passes last week and stepped out of the back of the end zone which cost the Lions two points. The Texans head coach is downplaying the preparations for either Kitna or Orlovsky—
“We’re going to play their offense. From what little bit I’ve seen of them today, before I came down here, it looks like they’re doing the same things. I know (Lions QB) Jon’s (Kitna) a very capable player, he can get hot. He’s won a lot of football games in this league with some different teams.”
Aside from hitting a perceived soft spot in their schedule, the Texans could also receive a shot in the arm for their secondary, as standout cornerback Dunta Robinson may return to the lineup. Robinson had an ACL injury last year and was placed on the PUP list to begin the 2008 season.
“Well, first off I’m encouraged from what I’ve seen,” Kubiak said. “He hasn’t been able to practice with us but from when I’ve seen him work he’s looked like he’s ready to go. I think we’ll have to be smart. We’ll put him in a competitive environment on Wednesday. Whether that’s scout team or however we do that, we’ll see how he comes out of that. We’ll work him Thursday probably on a limited roll with the defense. I think by Thursday evening we’ll have a good idea of whether or not he’s ready to play some this week.”
Although the combination of Jacques Reeves, DeMarcus Faggins, and Fred Bennett have played better in recent weeks, the team really needs Dunta Robinson back to solidify a secondary that’s allowed numerous big plays and is ranked 30th overall in scoring defense.
Gary Kubiak hasn’t made it clear what role Robinson will immediately have—
“Well, I think if he does play we’re definitely going to put a play count on him. So, whether that means he’s playing in base or playing in nickel, whatever he does, we’ll definitely have to monitor his reps. He’s not going back out there to play 40 or 50 plays in week one.”
Houston will likely be favored in their next two games against perceived weaker competition at the friendly confines of Reliant Stadium. They follow that with a trip to Minnesota, a team that has had issues scoring points. It’s not impossible to think that the Texans could even their record to .500 at the midway point in the season.
Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie is a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports and Sirius NFL Radio, and has been featured on the NFL Network. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.
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