Last season, the Texans finished third in offense, averaging 382.1 yards a game. Every starter on offense returned this season, amazing in this era of free agency and the salary cap. What happened?
Not only did all the starters return, but so did coach Gary Kubiak and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. All the offensive assistants returned, too. And Kubiak added Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bruce Matthews to his staff as an offensive assistant.
Now Kubiak can't explain had an offense that was unproductive and inconsistent in preseason and was downright embarrassing in the 24-6 loss to the New York Jets.
The offense produced 183 yards and no touchdowns. The defense scored the only touchdown when safety Dominique Barber picked up teammate John Busing's fumble on an interception and returned it 48 yards for the score.
The Texans can't run, and they can't pass. There's no resemblance to the offense -- or to the team, for that matter -- that contributed to last season's 5-1 finish.
Kubiak places the blame on the offensive coaches in general and himself in particular. Perhaps he's right. Maybe the game plan was inept. Maybe the play calls and the adjustments were feeble. Regardless, the only area the Texans were certain they could count on to produce has failed them miserably so far.
--CB Dunta Robinson created a huge controversy by writing "Pay Me Rick" on the shoes he wore for the Jets game. It was in reference to general manager Rick Smith not paying Robinson what he wanted in February and Smith placing the franchise tag on him.
"This is to remind me (why) we play this game," Robinson said after the game. Fans and media blasted Robinson. "I didn't mean to offend anybody, and if I did, I apologize," Robinson said the day after the game. "Rick didn't take it personally. The players thought it was funny. I was trying to have some fun. If we had won, this wouldn't be a (controversy)."
As the franchise player, Robinson can't negotiate with the Texans until after the season.
--WR Andre Johnson was limited to four catches for 35 yards against the Jets. He was thrown to seven times. "I was getting double coverage a lot," Johnson said. "They were doing everything they could to take me out of the game." When teams have succeeded against Johnson, they have a corner on him all over the field with a safety over the top. Jets CB Darrelle Revis covered Johnson most of the game. Now Johnson heads to Tennessee, where he caught two passes for 29 yards in the Titans' victory. When the Texans won at Reliant Stadium, he had 11 receptions for 207 yards and a touchdown.
--Coach Gary Kubiak always takes the blame when the team plays bad. He never accepts credit when the Texans play well.
"Coach is a very honorable man," guard Chester Pitts said. "When we lose, he takes it all on him, but that's not fair. He doesn't block or tackle anybody."
The players respect Kubiak's approach to losing. The fans want him to lash out at players, and they blast him when he doesn't, but it's not going to cause him to change the way he handles players.