Texans TE Oown Daniels reflects his team's frustration (houstontexans.com/Bill Baptist)
Well now, that was ugly, wasn’t it?
The Houston Texans started Sunday ready to be elevated to the next level in the NFL, prepared to join the elite. Before suppertime, they were only slightly more popular in their own hometown than Kanye West at an MTV awards show.
"Obviously very poor,” head coach Gary Kubiak understated following his team’s 24-7 loss at the hands of the New York Jets. “We were pretty much dominated as a football team across the board. We obviously weren't ready to play and that starts with me. You play that poorly, that starts with the coach. I didn't have them ready to go."
The Texans—predicted by many to be the class of the AFC South this season after off-season defensive improvements and a powerful finish to the 2008 campaign—found themselves in shock after being manhandled by the Jets.
"Man, I didn't see that coming at all,” defensive end Mario Williams said. “We were out there, we messed up a lot of stuff. We played hard, but we messed up a lot of stuff, though."
"Well if you would have told me this yesterday I would have been very shocked,” said fullback Vonta Leach, “but look on the bright side, it is only one game and we have 15 more to go. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth, everyone's ready to come in here tomorrow, look at the tapes, see what went wrong and get to Tennessee."
The Jets’ 3-4 defensive set gave the Texans offensive line, especially guards Mike Brasiel and Chester Puitts and center Chris Terry, fits all day. At one point, a dramatic television replay showed Jets nose tackle swiping Terry aside with one hand en route to hammering quarterback Matt Schaub.
"They didn't bring a lot of pressure from my side of the ball,” tackle Duane Brown said. “I think they were trying to take me and (T) Eric (Winston) out of the protection for the most part and try to get some guys free up the middle. It was successful.”
Kubiak said the play-calling by New York head coach Rex Ryan made a difference. Ryan took over the Jets after a successful stint in Baltimore as the defensive coordinator, and used a similar defense with the Ravens to humiliate the Texans last year, too.
“Because of the position we had ourselves in we went against the nickel defense two and a half quarters. By no means did we think we would have ourselves in that position in the football game,” Kubiak said. “Now you are going playing against something that you practice a third of the time.”
Kubiak said the Jets coverage plan also kept the Texans from being able to stretch the field and open things up for its corps of receivers.
"A combination—first off they played a lot of two man defense which makes you beat man under coverage,” he said. “That's a difficult coverage to go deep on. When they did come after us we had our quarterback and team in tough positions and that's me as a protector of the quarterback.
“Our play action game was poor,” he added. “If you don't run the ball we're not going to be a good play action team so I don't know if I'm answering your question but obviously they did a hell of a job."
For their part, the Texans players said they were upset with themselves, but were ready to put the experience behind them and get back to business.
"I'm not embarrassed. I'm pretty sure my teammates aren't embarrassed either because we didn't play well,” cornerback Dunta Robinso said.
“If you come in and you give it all you've got and you still get beat by 17 points or whatever the final score was then that's an embarrassment. Looking past this game we know the things that we need to correct,” he added.
“We've got 15 games left and we've got to move on. One thing I don't want to hear guys say is, ‘It's OK, we started 0-4 last year,' because this is a totally different year and a week to week thing so we've got to move past that."