David Culley has a checklist.
The morning after the Texans dropped a 31-5 matchup with Arizona, the head coach met with the media. He described three key problems plaguing his ballclub: penalties, big plays and poor tackling.
The Texans were flagged eight times for 80 yards. Six of those penalties came when they were on offense, and five of those six drives in which the Texans were penalized ended in either a punt or turnover on downs.
"It's been a (bad) deal with us from the start," Culley said. "We're working on that every day that we're on the field to concentrate and get that taken care of. We haven't done a good job of getting that done yet. That's the first focus that we're going to make sure, moving forward, that we find out exactly what that is. As a coaching staff, we've got to get our players to the point where we're eliminating those."
On average, the Texans are committing 7.3 penalties per game. Only three other teams in the NFL have been flagged more this season, per contest.
After addressing the penalties problem, Culley detailed what needed to change next.
"The second thing is to just eliminate the big plays," Culley said. "The question is, 'Well, how do you eliminate the big plays? Why are the big plays happening?' They're happening sometimes because we're simply having some miscommunications. As I go back to the penalties, we've got to eliminate those kinds of things."
The Cardinals completed a pair of passes for more than 40 yards in the win. The first came in the second quarter when Arizona was leading, 7-5. On third-and-23 at the Houston 45-yard line, QB Kyler Murray threw up the right sideline to WR A.J. Green, who brought the ball in and was stopped for a 41-yard gain to the Texans' 4-yard line. Murray would eventually find WR Christian Kirk for a 5-yard touchdown strike on the possession.
The second completion of 40 yards or more came in the middle of the third quarter when Murray linked up with TE Zach Ertz for a 47-yard score. That gave the Cardinals a 24-5 lead, and a James Conner 18-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter was the final nail in the Texans' proverbial coffin.
On top of the penalties and big plays allowed, Culley also pinpointed a third area of focus.
"We have not tackled very well," Culley said. "Whether it's on special teams or on defense. We've got to be better at tackling. Some of those big plays that are happening, we have them (stopped) for short gains and they're getting big gains because we're missing tackles."
The Texans practice Wednesday through Friday at the Houston Methodist Training Center and will host the Los Angeles Rams on October 31 in Week 8. Kickoff is set for noon CT. Click here for tickets.
Check out the top photos as the Houston Texans take on the Arizona Cardinals in Week 7 of the 2021 NFL Season.