Defense looking for turnaround


Remember last season when the Texans defense was horrible the first three weeks of the season and then they turned it around? Going into Week 5 Sunday against the Chiefs, the Texans are still looking for a similar reversal.

"Nobody feels good about it," defensive end Antonio Smith said. "We're almost at the bottom in defense, giving up 400 yards a game.  That's not where any defense wants to be.  Until we get it fixed, it's not going to be a good feeling."

Defensive coordinator Frank Bush is past ready for another rally and he's encouraged that it's on the way.

"What is happening now is what happened before and I think we'll keep getting better at it and improving as a defense," Bush said.

"Consistency is the word for the week.  We're trying to be more like we were in the first series of that game the other day, nasty and aggressive and getting after people."

The Texans are hoping for a happy ending this season to compare with the 2009 season.  From the fourth week on last year, the Texans ranked fourth in the league in total defense and ninth in scoring defense.

The Texans thought they had their nastiness back at the start of Sunday's 34-10 loss to the New York Giants.  It disappeared quickly.

"I think the vibe that we came out with was that we could just get it done,"  Smith said.  "When you want to be a good or a great defense you've got to be that way from the first snap to the last snap.  I just think that we're on our way finding that."

Now would be a good time for the defense to stop the bleeding.

They're at the bottom of the NFL in pass defense, allowing 329.6 yards per game, almost 30 yards a game more than No. 31 Seattle.  The Texans are next to last in total defense, allowing 410.2 yards per game.

"It doesn't sit well," safety Bernard Pollard said. "We went over it this morning, if we stop the big plays.  The big plays are the big stat hurters.  We have to be sound.  Nothing is going on.  They aren't bringing anybody in. They aren't making any moves so we have to understand that it's up to us.  We have to make tackles and make plays on the ball."

In the Texans first five games, 100-yard receivers have been common.

"We have to keep chopping," Bush said.  "We tell them they are getting it better every week.  We have to keep building their confidence.

Kareem (Jackson) made a play in this last game and they will continue to get their confidence."

Bush must guard against his young secondary getting too discouraged.

No. 1 draft pick Jackson got his first career interception against the Giants' Eli Manning on Sunday.

"When you make those decisions, you have to move on," coach Gary Kubiak said.  "We went young and we know who we're playing with.  I think they're going to all be fine players. I think it's part of the growth process but we need that process to hurry up."

Linebacker DeMeco Ryans doesn't want to hear about the age of the secondary.

"They're young but that's over with," Ryans said.  "It's the fifth game so that's over with. We've got to get pressure up front and challenge them to make plays on the back end. When the ball is in the air, we've got to believe it's our ball and go take it and make a play with it."

Bush was patient last season while waiting for his defense to take hold.

"They just have to stay disciplined on what they are doing," Bush said. "They are on again, off again. We just got to find a way to create an edge for a player here or there and keep chopping. It's early in the season, if they keep going and stay disciplined they'll end up being good players.  We just have to make sure they make plays.

"It's a combination of big plays and a few mistakes here and there. Structurally, it's not a problem.  I don't think it's the kids aren't doing what they're supposed to do.  There are some discipline problems as far as footwork and stuff."

Linebacker Brian Cushing returned to the lineup against New York after completing a four-game suspension.  Cushing's return didn't alter the outcome.

"We have to step up overall in all three phases, defensive line, linebackers and secondary," he said.  "We have to play better football and we know we can. Enough is enough and we've got to put our foot down."

Despite the poor performances, there is plenty of optimism among the defensive players.

Cushing said he tells the defensive backs to just keep playing.

"They're some young guys with a lot of talent," Cushing said.  "We just have to keep doing what we're doing.  You chip away long enough and it's going to happen.  We know that.  We're looking to improve on a lot of things and we will."

Second year starter Glover Quin was upbeat following Wednesday's practice.

"We're really close to being a top 15 top 10 defense," Quin said. "It's not as bad as it seems.  We look at the film.  We just have to fix things that we are doing wrong.

"The way the NFL works teams attack the things you don't do well.  So, right now we're getting attacked in the passing game because we're not playing the pass well.  We haven't shown that we can stop it.  We have to get it on film that we can stop the pass and you can't sit there and throw the ball on us."

Smith is pushing the defense to look forward to Kansas City. "You never want to sit on a loss too long," he said. "It's a bad place to be, with a bad feeling in your stomach, especially with where we want to go. We need to make a big turnaround and get the season started the way we want it to go."

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