Matt Schaub will be looking to lead his team to a franchise record 6th victory without a defeat. Already the this Texans team has begun faster than any other but Schaub is not taking anything for granted against a struggling Packers outfit that lost by three points against the Indianapolis Colts.
This could be a Super Bowl preview if the Packers can right the ship in time. Expect JJ Watt to act like it’s all second nature to him because folks, it is! It five games, Watt already has 32 tackles and 7.5 sacks while the overall defense is ranked first and has allowed fewer points than anyone in the league.
“You love the fanatical effort,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said. “The guy plays with his hair on fire. The size (6-5, 295), strength, athleticism — it’s rare to find a guy with that kind of combination. Obviously, if you have a vote for defensive player of the year, how do you not give it to that young man?”
Make no mistake, this is a must win for the Packers if they wish to stay in the Super Bowl conversation and WR Gregg Jennings knows there is a ton of pressure for him to perform.
“Now, it’s just a matter of being smart,” Jennings said. “I can’t keep having that up-and-down ‘I’m in one game, I’m out the next’ (or) ‘Not sure one game, good the next.’ I can’t keep doing that to myself or to the team. So, with that being said, I’m just going to wait until I get 100 percent back healthy, and then we’ll see (number) 85 back out there.”
Be sure to get your tickets for one of the most explosive games of this young season thus far!
The Texans’ 2011 season ended two games short of Super Bowl XLVI, with a seven-point loss to the Baltimore Ravens sending them home in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
Despite the lingering disappointment from that narrow loss and the what-ifs that came with it, optimism abounds for what’s ahead in 2012.
“We expect nothing less but a Super Bowl,” defensive end said last week after playing in the Pro Bowl. “That’s what we want to aim our eyes at. We’ve already made division champs. We’ve already made it to the playoffs. You could shoot nothing more than for a Super Bowl. If you’re shooting anything less than that, you’re cheating yourself.”
The Texans were one of the most balanced teams in the NFL this season before quarterback suffered a season-ending foot injury in Week 10. They ranked fifth in scoring (27.3 points per game) and second in scoring defense (16.6 points per game) through 10 games. For much of the season, even for several weeks after Schaub’s injury, they were the only team in the NFL to rank in the top 10 in yards on offense and defense.
Even with a litany of injuries to key players, the Texans won the AFC South title and trounced the Cincinnati Bengals 31-10 in the first round of the playoffs.
“It was just a building step,” Pro Bowl center said. “Obviously, we wanted to be able to make it as far as we could and went to the second round even with all the adversity that we had. It’s just a path that we want to take and keep growing. Now, the expectations aren’t just playoffs anymore. It’s bigger and better things – AFC Championship and Super Bowl.”
One of the reasons the Texans have such high hopes for next season is because of their defense, which will return every end-of-season starter in 2012 and should only get better with a first full offseason under coordinator Wade Phillips.
A majority of the Texans’ defensive players made a pact to stay in Houston and train together this offseason instead of going their separate ways.
“We want to gel a little bit in the offseason and get everyone there so we can work and push each other,” cornerback said. “And that’s the ultimate goal, pushing each other, and that’s what gets you over the top. Competition is always a good thing, and I think we have that on our team. I received a lot of texts from a lot of guys (during the Pro Bowl week); even texted me just cracking little jokes.
“Being around those guys on a day-to-day basis, it’s like a brotherhood. I can’t wait to get back with those guys because I came on a short time (in free agency last year), and at the end, I kind of was like, ‘This is family.’”
Smith, Myers and Joseph were the Texans’ only three Pro Bowlers this season. That number should significantly increase a year from now, but the Texans hope to be otherwise occupied.
As much as the Texans’ coaches appreciated their week in Hawaii, which they earned by being the highest-seeded team in the AFC to lose in the Divisional Round, they have their sights set on getting to a slightly more important game next February.
“I’ll take it one time; I don’t want to do it again, though,” special teams coordinator Joe Marciano said after the Pro Bowl. “Hopefully, we’ll be going a little further and we don’t have to come back here anymore.
“There’s so much promise we’re going to take the next step. We’re gonna take the next step. The guys know it. We know it. I know it. Fans know it. Coaches know it. Players know it. We’re gonna do it.”
EDITOR’S NOTE:Texans cornerback , drafted in the second round (60th overall) out of Miami (Fla.), will chronicle his rookie season with periodic diary entries for HoustonTexans.com.
This week has been interesting. This is our first week preparing like the regular season. We’re treating this game like a true game week in terms of schedule and time, and we’re out of a camp mode. It’s been interesting just to take on the daily life of an NFL player – waking up in the morning, going to meetings, getting practice done, doing a bunch of stuff but in a limited time.
I realized that it doesn’t take all day to prepare yourself to be ready to play. We have a seven-hour work schedule every day, and that’s enough time from 8-3 to get all your work in and get done and go home and relax. Coming from college, I’m used to grinding all day – waking up at 6 a.m. and not getting home ’til about 9 o’clock at night between classes and study hall. You don’t have to do any of that anymore. It’s kind of a shock to me, like, “Oh, that’s it; I’m done?” Go to practice, go to meetings, study, and I’m gone. There’s no middle work in between. That’s been fun.
Last week’s game against the Saints was a good experience. It was a good chance to go up against a great team, a team that’s a Super Bowl contender every year. It was exciting to me just to go out there in pregame and get a chance to talk to some of my fellow ‘Canes who play for the Saints, Jimmy Graham and Jonathan Vilma. We all just got together and just joked and laughed about different things that we can relate to, and it was fun to be able to do that for the first time. We didn’t have any Miami guys on the Jets’ roster.
Other than that, things have been going great. I’ve been having fun. We installed a lot of things for San Francisco, which should be pretty good in the game. I was able to do some great things on special teams in the game last week. Coach Kub (Gary Kubiak) and Coach Joe (Marciano), the special teams coach, they applauded me a lot on special teams and are going to give me more opportunities to go out and play that way. That’s all I want: An opportunity to play. Special teams is a huge part of the sport. I just want to be able to get on the field, and getting that opportunity is going to be exciting.
I’m excited about the first road trip. Get to travel with the team, get on the airplane with the guys, have that camaraderie, stuff like that. I’ve heard it’s a pretty fun experience. I heard the plane is nice. I already know everything’s A-plus with the organization. Every hotel we’ve stayed in has been top-quality, so I’m excited just to get a chance to travel with an NFL team. We had a pretty good traveling experience at Miami, but to know you’re at the highest level, I know they do things different. That’s what I’m excited to see. I’m excited to see just the simple things: The buses, the hotel, all of that.
I heard American idol was here this week. I was trying, I was begging and pleading, for three days for somebody to set me up with an audition. I couldn’t get it done. I don’t know what I had to do. I just wanted to get in the audition room and just show ‘em what I can do. I’m a decent karaoke guy; I have fun with it back with my family and friends in Miami. So I think I could pass. And I’ve been saying it for a while, I really want to meet J-Lo. But they couldn’t make it happen for me. I was screaming to anybody who would listen to me to get me in the room and just shake some hands and just introduce myself. That’s all I was asking for, but unfortunately it didn’t come true.