|Texans, Jaguars trying to recover from early hole|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 25 September 2008 13:04|
They lost their first two games because of big plays and turnovers, had to deal with a major off-the-field distraction, and didn't get nearly the quarterback play either expected.
Now, they're both well behind AFC South leader Tennessee and trying to recover. One of them will feel a whole lot better about their situation following Sunday's matchup in Jacksonville.
``The bright side is knowing that you can play better and you can fix those things and move on to turn things around the next week,'' Texans quarterback Matt Schaub said. ``I think we have that feeling around here. We're remaining positive. It's a long season and there are a lot of teams out there who started out behind the 8-ball.
``We just need to continue to focus on what it's going to take to win each week and things are going to turn up here.''
things around last week at Indianapolis. They gouged the Colts for 236 yards rushing, controlled the ball for more than 41 minutes and got a much-needed 23-21 victory thanks to Josh Scobee's 51-yard field goal with 4 seconds to play.
It was decidedly different from Jacksonville's first two games, in which Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew were bottled up after every handoff, David Garrard was sacked nine times and committed four turnovers, and the defense gave up a couple of long pass plays late.
The Jaguars also struggled to replace three starters along the offensive line and cope with the shooting of backup offensive tackle Richard Collier just days before the opener.
Jacksonville finally pulled things together in Indy, getting the running game on track, keeping Peyton Manning on the sideline and avoiding an 0-3 start.
The Texans (0-2) can only hope for the same outcome in their third game. They stumbled badly at Pittsburgh and at Tennessee, turning over the ball six times, faltering near the end zone, enduring defensive lapses and ending up on the verge of a quarterback change.
They also had to deal with Hurricane Ike, which swept through Texas earlier this month and left behind a wake of destruction.
ve end Paul Spicer said. ``But right now, I know on the forefront of their mind is to come and get a win.''
If Schaub doesn't play better, his job could be in jeopardy.
He completed 60 percent of his passes in the first two games, but had just one touchdown toss and five interceptions. Even though coach Gary Kubiak gave Schaub a vote of confidence this week, most believe another turnover-filled performance could prompt Kubiak to give backup Sage Rosenfels a shot.
Rosenfels was 4-1 as a starter last season, including a win over Jacksonville in the regular-season finale.
``I've played that position for many, many years, and it's so easy when you're not having success for people to point fingers at one person, but all you have to do is look at the film,'' Kubiak said. ``Last week, there were many, many reasons why we didn't succeed. We had our opportunities. We broke down in a lot of areas. Matt needs to play better, there's no doubt about that. But there are a lot of people out there that have to do a better job of helping him also.''
Kubiak didn't point any fingers, but he was clearly referring, at least in part, to the two passes Andre Johnson dropped, including one in the end zone.
t it wasn't one guy. It was a group effort.''
The Texans have one thing they can rally around this week: facing Jacksonville.
Houston has won three of the last four meetings and owns a 7-5 record against the Jaguars, twice as many wins as the franchise has against fellow AFC South foes Tennessee and Indianapolis combined.
``They are motivated, of course, by the past success,'' Taylor said. ``They are trying to win a game, so they have a lot to be motivated by, and they have won here. I am sure they are dishing that speech out over and over and over again, so they are going to be enthused, ready to come in and play.''
If not, it could mean another long season for the Texans. Only two teams in the 15 years of the salary-cap era - Detroit in 1995 and Buffalo in 1998 - made the playoffs after an 0-3 start.
``Every game is the biggest game of the year,'' Kubiak said. ``That's the way this league works. Every game is going to take the best you've got to be successful. Starting with three straight road games against three damn good football teams adds to that challenge, but we understand that. That's part of the deal.
``We need to play better on the road starting with this week.''