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Week 4 notes: Field position key to Texans’ victory

Posted Oct 1, 2012

A day later, notes from the Texans’ 38-14 victory over the Tennessee Titans in Week 4 at Reliant Stadium.

Bryan Braman

A day later, notes from the Texans’ 38-14 victory over the Tennessee Titans in Week 4 at Reliant Stadium:

Special teams improve
The Titans entered the game ranked fourth in the NFL In kickoff return average (29.9 yards per return) and second in punt return average (17.2). They averaged 21.4 yards on five kickoff returns and 3.0 yards on three punt returns against the Texans. Their longest kickoff return went for 23 yards.

Tennessee’s average starting field position on Sunday was its own 19-yard line.

“That was the key to the game, in my opinion,” Kubiak said. “They had 13 possessions; eight of them started inside their 20, if I’m right. When you play defense the way we’re playing defense and you make a team go 80 yards consistently, I think we’re going to like the results at the end of the day. I thought it was our best outing from a special teams standpoint with the whole group and how we played.”

Texans punter Donnie Jones averaged 43.2 yards per punt with a 41.7 net average. Four of his six punts were downed inside the 20-yard line. The Titans crossed midfield on just four of 13 possessions.

Growing pains
Right guard Antoine Caldwell is day-to-day with a sprained ankle. If he’s unable to play in Week 5, rookie Ben Jones would get his first-career start on Monday Night Football.

Jones, a fourth-round draft pick, was a center at Georgia. He played a career-high 47 snaps on Sunday after Caldwell left with an ankle injury early in the second quarter.

“He played like a young guy, played like a first-year guy,” Kubiak said. “There are some things he can do better, but he’s doing some real good stuff, too, and he’s playing a position he never played in college. There will be some growing pains there, but I like his effort. I like his preparation.”

Caldwell played 39 snaps (57 percent) in Week 3 compared to 29 snaps (43 percent) for Jones. It was a 55/45 split in Week 2. The fourth-year veteran played only 13 snaps against the Titans before leaving with his injury.

Spelling Newton
For the second consecutive week, the Texans employed a three-series-for-one rotation at right tackle. Starter Derek Newton played 43 snaps (72 percent). Ryan Harris played 19 (32 percent).

Newton, a second-year pro, played 51 snaps (75 percent) in Week 4. Harris, who started 34 games for the Broncos from 2007-10, played 17 (25 percent).

“Newton was better than he was last week,” Kubiak said. “We took about 20 snaps off of Newton with Ryan, and I think it helped. I think it really did help Newton play more consistently throughout the course of the game. Also, Ryan did some good stuff. We’ll continue there. We understand what we’re working with. We’ve got to be patient, but (we’re) hard on them and expect them to play well.”

Players of the game
Kubiak said tight end Owen Daniels (offense), free safety Glover Quin (defense) and outside linebacker Bryan Braman (special teams) were the Texans’ players of the game.

Daniels had a game-high six catches for 72 yards and a touchdown. Quin had six tackles (five solo), a sack that knocked quarterback Jake Locker out of the game and a tackle for loss. Braman had a team-high three special teams tackles, all inside the 20-yard line.

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