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Brown rounding out another stellar season


Among AFC kickers with more than 10 field goal attempts this year, Brown is tied for fifth by converting 86 percent of his tries.

Kris Brown has been almost automatic this year. He kicked 15 consecutive field goals to start the season and he's 25-for-29 going into Sunday's game at Oakland. That's not good enough for Brown. He wants perfection.

"I have a goal of making every field goal I attempt for a year, I feel that's achievable now because of how long we went this season," Brown said. "Maybe before that was my goal, but I don't know if I necessarily believed it 100 percent. Now, I believe I can actually do that. I'll never be satisfied with being the same."

Brown has become one of the steadiest kickers in the NFL, especially after he and special teams coordinator Joe Marciano overhauled Brown's mechanics two seasons ago. Marciano isn't worried about perfection. He wants consistency.

"We're looking for somebody who can make all his extra points and all his kicks from 43 on in," Marciano said. "Those are your money kicks."

Brown has been on the money since becoming an original member of the Texans in 2002. Punter Matt Turk has been Brown's holder for the past two seasons. They've been a cohesive kicking unit, although they don't talk about streaks or misses too much.

"Kris is as professional a kicker as I've been around," punter Matt Turk said. "We didn't talk about it (streak) because it's kicking one kick at a time and we go about every kick the exact same way. We don't worry what he's done, if he's got a streak going or if he just missed one. Every kick is unique."

Brown has hit 11 game-winning field goals in his career, including two Sunday's ago when booted a 40-yarder as time expired at historic Lambeau Field for a 24-21 victory over the Packers in frigid weather.

{QUOTE}There also have been a few downers. He missed a 26-yarder that could have been crucial in last week's 13-12 victory over Tennessee.

"Why did you have to bring that one up?" Marciano asked. "I think that bothers me more than it bothers him. I thought he was fast, that he rushed it. I told him to be thin-skinned because we might need you to kick a game-winner."

Brown doesn't need much instruction or motivation. He has become a master of drama for the Texans. His 57-yarder beat the Dolphins with one second to play last season. He booted a 49-yarder with two seconds left to beat Kansas City in 2004. He's also kicked game-tying field goals to force overtimes against Tennessee in 2006 and Cleveland in 2001.

"It's understanding how I can look at myself on film and figure out from a mechanical standpoint what I'm trying to get done," Brown said. "When I see it on film, I look at seeing what I can do to fix something. If there's nothing wrong, it's important to look and see that everything technique-wise is pretty good."

Brown has kicked 644 points for the Texans. He needs nine points in the final two games to break his single-season record of 115 points. His next extra point will be his 300th for the Texans. He has hit 86.2 percent of his field goals this season, which equals the team record he set in 2007.

Brown goes to extreme measures to keep out all distractions. He picks a spot between the goal posts to kick to. He's happy if he makes the kick, but frowns if he misses the spot. If he misses the kick, he's really upset.

"The hardest thing is after a miss, the next kick," Brown said. "I have to figure out what I did wrong, not overreact. What was my mistake? Then I tell myself, 'Go out there and do your routine and whatever you did wrong, mechanical or technique or routine, just go out and fix the problem and do everything else the same.' That's the hardest thing to overcome.

"Just getting into that mode where I can get tunnel vision to go out and do what I have to do. I don't really look at a whole lot or read a whole lot. I just try to stay focused on going through my routine."

Routine is so important for a kicker. For that reason, change is a nasty word.

"A couple of years ago...Joe and I changed my technique up, changed my whole steps,'' Brown said. "My steps used to be different from what they are now. We revamped all that to what I could do to have more consistent contact and to really have the ball going to the target that we want every time we kick."

Marciano knew it wouldn't be easy for Brown or any other kicker.

"It's especially tough when they've been kicking that way all their lives," Marciano said. "We took a couple of moving parts away and we did it in the offseason so he could get comfortable with it. He'd go back to his old way and then see it on tape. Kris is a pretty disciplined guy. He bought in."

Marciano said it was a mutual decision.

"I wanted him to be an upper-echelon kicker, so I did a tape," Marciano said. "We looked at all the other upper-echelon kickers. Everybody has a little different style. What can we take from each of these kickers that is the common denominator? That's what we did."

The Texans have been pleased with the results.

EDITOR'S NOTE: *Michael A. Lutz worked for The Associated Press for 38 years covering news and sports in Louisville, Ky. Dallas and Houston. Most of that time was spent in Houston covering the Oilers, Astros, Texans and other college and pro sports. *

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