The Houston Texans players will be back in the building on Tuesday following Sunday's 27-14 loss to the Cleveland Browns in Week 13. Head Coach Lovie Smith addressed the media and here are four takeaways from Monday's press conference:
1. Run game getting back on track
After back-to-back weeks with single-digit rushing numbers, Dameon Pierce finally broke through with 18 carries for 73 yards, averaging 4.1 yards per attempt. He also caught three passes for 22 yards receiving. In fact, the Texans RB surpassed 1,000 scrimmage yards, becoming the first rookie to do so this season. However, Smith believes the Texans could have used Pierce even more on Sunday.
"I thought at times Dameon Pierce looked more to the true form of what he's been in the past," Smith said. "I thought he ran hard. Again Dameon Pierce, we probably got away from the run too much off course in hindsight right now."
2. QB questions…plus, is Baker Mayfield in the mix?
While Smith admitted the quarterback position "wasn't good enough yesterday," as of Monday, he did not announce any changes heading into Week 14 at Dallas.
"Things get out a little bit quick around here, so if there's a change that we're going to make at any position, you guys will know it right away," Smith said. "But first, I'm going to talk to the guys about all of the things that we're going through at all positions."
Smith was also asked if the Texans would consider adding Baker Mayfield, who was released from the Carolina Panthers Monday.
"To answer your question, everybody that's available we look at," Smith said. "We see if they fit. We're constantly trying to improve our roster, so if there's anybody that's out there, that's what we do. Don't know enough about Baker (Mayfield) or anything like that. We're trying to get better play from the guys we have on our current roster. That's what we're really focused on right now."
3. Defensive line unit stepping up
Smith says he's been pleased with the progress of the defensive line. Roy Lopez scored on a safety and Ogbo Okoronkwo got his first sack of the season. The Texans defense held the Browns to a pair of field goals on offense and 0-for-1 in the red zone.
"I'm saying that for Roy Lopez, played his best game yesterday," Smith said. "I would say also up front, Jerry Hughes and the rest of the crew, just D-line in general, putting together some good games on how they're playing. Don't have a whole lot of complaints."
4. Injury updates
The Texans were without starters DB Derek Stingley (hamstring), RB Rex Burkhead (concussion) and WR Brandin Cooks (calf) against the Browns.
"(Derek) Stingley's got a mild hamstring, but his mild hamstring is getting better," Smith said. "I don't know how much you're watching. He was on the sideline yesterday. He was really into ball. So, he is getting better. Jonathan Greenard is better also. I don't know exactly how close he is. Rex (Burkhead) is getting better also. He was in the concussion protocol, and I think he was on the sideline too. All of our players that you're asking about right now, they're all getting better, and we'll see how they fit into the mix."
"He (Cooks) had a calf injury that caused him to miss last week," Smith said. "If you just look at how it takes you to come back from a calf muscle, I don't know if it's mild or what. It kept him out of the game, so we'll see."
The Texans will travel to Dallas to face the Cowboys in Week 14. Sunday's kickoff from AT&T Stadium is set for noon CT on FOX and SportsRadio 610.
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Texans fans were back at NRG Stadium to see the Texans take on the Browns. Check out the best photos presented by Ricos.