The Houston Texans were not only humiliated at the hands of the New England Patriots, but lost superstar J.J. Watt in the process adding insult to injury. Watt had just returned from an operation to repair a herniated disc in his back and was back on the field after 53 days of rehab.
The Texans (2-1, 1st AFC South) will have to regroup and get back to winning without Watt against their AFC South rival Tennessee Titans (1-2, 2nd AFC South) who are coming off a touchdown loss to the Oakland Raiders. The defense will have to be by committee.
“When you have that kind of ability and that kind of play-making, it’s hard to replace with one guy,” Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel said. “So, we’re going to ask all the guys on defense to pick it up, to put a little bit extra in it and see if we can gain some of those plays that J.J. used to make.
“That’s what we have to do. We’re going to try to ask everybody else to tighten their belts and then go play the best game that they’ve played.”
The Houston Texans (1-0, 1st AFC South) look to take early control of the AFC South when they host the Kansas City Chiefs (1-0, 1st AFC West) who are tied with Denver and Oakland for the AFC West lead. The Texans are the lone team in the AFC South with a win as the Titans, Jaguars and Colts all lost in week one.
Expect the Texans to put heavy pressure on QB Alex Smith and the Chiefs offensive line with J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus, and Jadeveon Clowney all chomping at the bit to get to the Smith.
“We have a lot of guys up front who can get to the quarterback,” Clowney said. “You can’t just double one of us. If you double one, the other guys are winning. Everybody was winning [against the Bears]. We have to hope we keep that going and offenses have a hard time game planning against us and keep winning games.”
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was sacked five times against the Houston D last week, the highest season opener total in franchise history. Suffice to say, Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel has his defense primed and ready and moving Clowney from DE to OLB should keep the Chiefs guessing
“He’s [Clowney] had his hand on the ground and played with his hand on the ground all of his college career,” Crennel said. “He knows how to maneuver and handle himself in there a little bit. And he showed that he can do it, so we might try it again.”
We can all agree that another 30-0 blowout is not likely.
The Houston Texans gambled on a quarterback that had only started seven games in his four years in the league. A $72 million gamble. Now, this Sunday, they will see if the gamble begins to pay off as Brock Oweiler and the Texans host the Chicago Bears in the 2016 NFL season opener. His coach, Bill O’Brien has the utmost respect for his new star.
”He’s come in here and done exactly what we’ve asked him to do,” O’Brien said. ”He’s worked extremely hard … in order to understand our offense basically like a coach does, you have to put in a lot of time. He has certainly done that.”
For the humble Osweiler, the chance to lead a team of his own that has potential to get to the playoffs is all the upside he needed to leave a comfy job in Denver and his confidence continues to soar.
”My confidence continues to grow every single day,” Osweiler said. ”It definitely grows every single time I step on the game field because you can’t really replace anything with game reps, so the more I’m able to (practice) this offense, the more comfortable I become with it.”