Texans head coach Gary Kubiak reviewed the team's tough loss Sunday at Jacksonville that dropped the Texans' record to 3-3. The biggest news of the day involved a player who was inactive for the Jacksonville game.
The return of 'Dre: Wide receiver Andre Johnson, who hasn't played since suffering a sprained left knee late in the Week 2 win at Carolina, may return for this week's crucial home game against division rival Tennessee.
"He's progressing well; (we're) very, very hopeful that he's ready to go this week," Kubiak said. "We'll run him tomorrow. We liked the progress we saw last week, so we've just kind of got our fingers crossed that he's ready to go this week."
Johnson was among the league leaders with 14 receptions for 262 yards and three touchdowns in the first two games of the season, and the Texans have scored only four offensive touchdowns since he was sidelined. The team should know more about Johnson's status by Tuesday or Wednesday. Stay tuned to HoustonTexans.com for updates throughout the week.
Reverse, reverse: Kubiak downplayed the significance of referee Walt Coleman's reversal of an offensive holding call that would have nullified Jaguars tight end George Wrighster's one-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter.
"I really don't get caught up in that stuff too much," Kubiak said. "You've got to play. They're going to make the calls. If they don't go your way, you can ask why or what happened on that particular play."
The initial ruling was that Jaguars tight end Greg Estandia set a holding pick on Texans linebacker Danny Clark. Replays appeared to confirm the penalty, which would have put the Jaguars in a third-and-goal from the 11-yard line. But the officials conferred for some time and then went back on their ruling, determining that Estandia began his block at the line of scrimmage, thereby making it legal (click here for Coleman's explanation).
"We got the same explanation last night that we got today," Kubiak said. "They've got to make the call, we've got to play. We can't worry about that."
Kubiak was far more concerned with his team's inability to finish strong against Jacksonville after still being in the game at halftime.
"We're in a 10-6 ballgame on the road, that's fine," Kubiak said. "We come out (after halftime) and they got three possessions, three touchdowns and we turned the ball over twice...We got dominated in the second half as a football team. It's obvious what could have happened early that could have changed the game, but it's also obvious what happened in the second half. That's what disturbs me."
Red zone blues continue:A week after kicker Kris Brown hit five field goals to make up for the Texans' red zone ineptitude, Houston's first-team offense failed to score a touchdown in four red zone trips against the Jaguars. The Texans especially hurt themselves by failing to convert on early opportunities that would have changed the dynamics of the game.
"Not many people have been moving the ball on them, and you go right down the field two times in a row and you've got a chance to get off to a 14-0 lead," Kubiak said of the first quarter. "It's just disappointing because we couldn't have started any better, but had nothing to show for it. And then we get two turnovers and we only get three (points) out of that. We should've been staring at 17, 21 points right there."
Kubiak attributed the problem to a number of factors, including the struggling running game and costly penalties, but said it mainly came down to a lack of execution.
"The first two times that we go (to the red zone), we miss two plays that we made in practice on Friday. Exact same play, exact same defense," Kubiak said. "We made the play on Friday at 11:30, didn't make it at Jacksonville at 1:30.
"Whatever we think we're going to do down there, we're going to practice it and then go try to perform it. We just did not do that (Sunday). If it gets fixed, when it gets fixed, there's going to be a lot of points out there to be had. But there's a lot of work to be done to get it fixed."
A bona fide number two:Wide receiver Kevin Walter is the team's number two wideout when Johnson is healthy. Thanks to his career game with 12 receptions for 160 yards, he's also now the number two receiver in team record books. Only Johnson has had a more productive game with the Texans, a 12-reception, 170-yard outburst against Minnesota in 2004.
"I'll tell you all exactly what I told the players in here about an hour ago in front of everybody," Kubiak said to the media. "I said, 'I'm going to tell you what. I don't care where we play or who we play, you all can count on this kid. He'll do anything he has to do for us to win. That's blocking in the running game. He'll play special teams. He'll go make a tough catch.' You know what, we see that every day in practice and when guys do that out there in practice, they tend to keep doing that on Sunday. He's a very accountable kid. His teammates can count on him."
The fifth-year wideout from Eastern Michigan was disappointed with the outcome of the game, but happy to help the team as much as he did on Sunday.
"That's what I work hard to do is go out there and help this team move the ball and make plays," Walter said. "I got an opportunity to do that yesterday and I just have to continue to do that. Us as a receiving group…we're going to be just fine. We're going to get Andre (Johnson) back, Jacoby (Jones). Everyone is going to be rolling on all cylinders. We're in good shape."