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Texans To-Do List vs. Arizona

Posted Nov 9, 2013

After six-straight losses, losing their head coach, and finding their stride offensively, the Texans have a short list that needs to get done against Arizona.



1. Kickin’ It


Is it an understatement to say that the heat is on for Randy Bullock? Despite reportedly bringing in kickers Shayne Graham, Neil Rackers, and Justin Medlock, the Texans have decided to start Bullock for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals.

“We’re going to continue to go with Randy,” interim head coach Wade Phillips said Wednesday. “He certainly knows and we told him, and everybody else knows. He’s got to get it done. That’s the bottom line is production. He started out poorly and started kicking really well. I think he got away from his technique a little bit last game and we feel like we can get him back to that.”

Bullock is 13-for-21 this season on field goals, missing four from 40-49 yards and four from 50-plus. Before his three misses against Indianapolis, Bullock made 11 of his last 12 field goals.


2. Big plays without big flags

The Texans secondary let some big plays get away from them in the second half of against Indianapolis. The Colts receivers had 215 of their 271 yards after halftime, including all three touchdowns to T.Y. Hilton.

Seven-time Pro Bowler Larry Fitzgerald has 11 receptions for 164 yards and three touchdowns in his two career games against the Texans. Last week against Atlanta, Fitzgerald, 30, became the youngest player in NFL history to reach 800 career receptions. Johnson says Fitzgerald has great hand-eye coordination that allows him to make a play for any ball.

“You put the film on, he made tough catches,” Johnson said. “He stretched the field, ran after the catch, got in there and blocked when he needed to. He’s a complete receiver.”
Michael Floyd, now in his second season, is a solid second receiver behind Fitzgerald. With 34 catches for 433 yards and two touchdowns, Floyd is already on pace to surpass his rookie campaign through just eight games.

Avoiding the big penalties will be a focus, as always. Kareem Jackson attracts yellow flags like a moth to a flame. His aggressiveness is often effective but sometimes costly. After a pass interference call against him during the Colts game, Jackson currently leads the league with 114 yards on four penalties.


3. Nuk(e) the Honeybadger

Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson will go up the All-Pro Johnson who is coming off a career-best three-touchdown, 229-yard game. Peterson currently leads the Cardinals defense with three interceptions and 17 passes defensed.

DeAndre Hopkins will be tested against fellow rookie Tyrann Mathieu, the third-round pick formerly known as the “Honeybadger.” Mathieu intercepted his second pass of the season against Atlanta last week and is just one of six players in the NFL with at least two picks, a sack, and a forced fumble. He currently leads the Arizona defensive backs with seven tackles and two passes defensed.


4. Win one for the Kubs

Interim head coach Wade Phillips takes over with Gary Kubiak still recovering from his transient ischemic attack (TIA). Play-calling will be led by offensive coordinator Rick Dennison from the coaches’ booth upstairs, where he says he gets a better view of coverages. From the sideline, quarterbacks coach Karl Dorrell will be relaying the plays to Case Keenum. The coaches have had an entire week to adjust to calling a game without Kubiak. Last Sunday, they had less than twelve minutes to do so. For Dennison, not much changes in his role.

“I go through the process the same way that I did,” Dennison said. “I just don’t have anybody bouncing ideas off me and me bouncing off of them. I do have the staff and I have asked them to come up with a lot of things and to help me throw out some of the crazy ideas that we have. Gary usually does that in a heartbeat. He throws anything that I come up with out. The process will be the same. We’ll setup all the situations, our 1-10 calls in each of the situations. We’ll be able to go out there and operate fast, certainly working with Karl very closely all the time. It will be no problem.”

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