She’s still holding it down and it’s in the living room. She says people come and give the pizza and they be like ‘Is that a Heisman?’ Mark Ingram II on his 2009 Heisman Trophy residing with his mom in Flint, Michigan
On Sunday, the Houston Texans will head to Buffalo for the first NFL road start of rookie QB Davis Mills' career. The Texans defense will try to contain a red-hot Josh Allen on the opposite side of the ball, who set passing records last week against Washington. With ten days since their Thursday night game against the Carolina Panthers, a number of Texans players also returned to the practice, which is good news for the starting lineup on Sunday.
Here are some of the top stories and quotes from the week:
Head Coach David Culley returns to Buffalo, where he coached quarterbacks from 2017 to 2018 under Sean McDermott. The two head coaches go back even further to their time on the Philadelphia Eagles staff under Andy Reid. Check out some of the other Texans-Bills connections here.
Culley isn't surprised by what Bills QB Josh Allen has accomplished in just over three seasons in the league. He worked with Allen as a rookie when he coached him in 2018.
"He's become one of the top quarterbacks in this league," Culley said. "I know when I had him as a rookie, he has everything that you want, and I'm not surprised that he's where he's at right now. I think I remember last year, he was maybe No. 2 in the league in MVP voting. He's a heck of a player, has all the things you want. There's not a throw he can't make. He's very athletic, he's a big kid, strong kid that can run. He's the total package."
Defensive Coordinator Lovie Smith said the Bills have such an explosive passing game and depth at receiver and will line up four, sometimes even five wide on a play.
"Five wide receivers will challenge anyone," Smith said. "Just think about it. If you match up to five receivers, so five corners, most times you don't have five that you feel really good about. Five receivers calls you to do some things. But at the same time, it limits the offense a little bit too."
Allen's ability to leave the pocket and find receivers are a challenge the defense has seen on film.
"He has a very, very strong arm and he's not scared to show it," DB Desmond King II said. "We've seen it in film multiple times of him getting out of the pocket and finding (Stefon) Diggs in the end zone. So, we definitely have to be more disciplined when he is getting out of the pocket and scrambling and just not coming out of our coverage."
Justin Reid is trending in the right direction after suffering a knee injury in Week 2 at Cleveland and missing the last game.
"I feel pretty good," Reid said. "I've been making steady progress throughout the week, following the plan that we have set and it's been going pretty well."
Reid's presence, or lack thereof, is definitely felt on the field for the Texans defense.
"Just in general, we gave up some big passes last game," Smith said. "Justin is one of our best defensive players, period. He has ball skills. Just having him back in the secondary, of course, helps everything. Missing him took a big chunk out, but he stayed in the game. Hopefully, he will be back out there for long."
WR Brandin Cooks currently leads the AFC with 322 receiving yards this season. He has now recorded five consecutive games with 75+ receiving yards.
Last week against the Panthers, Cooks led the Texans with 9 catches for 112 yards. Culley said that Cooks' high football IQ ability to work with different quarterbacks in different systems is a part of his success, in addition to his speed and route-running skills.
Offensive Coordinator Tim Kelly says it's "fun" to try to find ways to get Cooks the ball, despite all the attention opposing teams will dedicate to him.
"It's going to come down to our ability to teach the game plan to him and allow him to be able to kind of embrace it and understand what we're trying to do and what we're trying to get out of him," Kelly said. "In my opinion, that's part of the challenge of coaching at this level. Kind of that chess game and having guys that are as smart as Brandin is that can handle different things along those lines makes that part of it fun."
Justin Britt has played most positions on the offensive line, including right tackle, left guard and center during his time with the Seattle Seahawks.
"I didn't like guard if we're being frank," Britt said. "It wasn't my most favorite position. I'd rather play tackle or center."
That being said, Britt has been impressed with Tytus Howard's transition from right tackle to left guard.
"You're going against Ed Oliver, you're going against Star (Lotulelei), we don't practice against those guys," Britt said. "Every week, you're going to have a new look, a new opponent, a new way to how they playthings. With him, it's just repetition. He'll see something one time in a game, and it won't happen again, and vice versa. Just reps, just time. Tytus (Howard) is a pro, he's a good pro. There's a reason why he got drafted high and why he's here, and why they trust him to play on the left side."
Brevin Jordan has not made his NFL debut yet in the regular season, but Culley says the rookie tight end is making progress adjusting to the offense.
"He's getting better and better, and he's getting more comfortable," Culley said. "Being on our show team doing the other team's offense and playing tight end, and doing the different things that the different teams that we play, what their tight ends do, is actually helping him develop into a better player. He's still learning what we do, but for the most part, his time's coming. That's a good room there. The three guys that are in front of him, that's a good room. He's developing, he's learning, he's got good mentors there, and at some point when his time comes, I know he'll be ready."
Ka'imi Fairbairn and A.J. Moore were both designated to return off IR this week. The Texans waived K Joey Slye on Thursday, paving the way for Fairbairn's return in Week 4.
"Excited for him," Special Teams Coordinator Frank Ross said. "Did a great job while Joey was taking the team reps throughout his time the first three weeks of the season rehabbing on the side, taking reps on his own, being a consummate professional and did a great job with that."
LB Kamu-Grugier Hill was a full participant in Thursday's practice after being ruled out against the Panthers.
"We are hoping he'll be full-go come Sunday," Culley said.
Smith says the Texans defense is better when Grugier-Hill, Reid and DB Terrance Mitchell are in the lineup and is hopeful they will be back on the field Sunday against the Bills.
"They are getting better," Smith said of the trio. "We are different without them. Those are three good football players that we need to help us. We have a whole lot more success with them out there, but they are coming along, and hopefully, that will be the case."
Roy Lopez has been impressive so far in his rookie season, getting his first start against Carolina. The defensive lineman said he went four-and-a-half months without a cheat day while he was preparing for his Pro Day coming out of college.
"I like tacos, I like enchiladas, I like it all," Lopez said. "Look, this is the problem, right? So, I can't eat none of that stuff right now because I got a nutritionist, and that's something I've got to stay away from. I'll throw down some tacos, for sure. But all of it. Don't ask me Christmas time, because that when it gets dangerous."
Lopez also explained his salsa sack celebration that fans saw in the preseason.
"It's just something that I like to do," Lopez said. "I like to connect with the fans and I know the fans like it. Being from a Latino background, it's big, and I like to express it. My teammates know I like to express it."
The Texans will face the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium in Week 4. Kickoff is set for Sunday at noon CT.
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The Houston Texans roster in photos.