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Kubiak sees problem as execution, not defense


Brian Cushing and Amobi Okoye are working to turn the defense around starting against the Raiders.

The Texans' defense has another mess to clean up before Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders.

Through three games, the defense has allowed a 100-yard rusher and long scoring plays in each game. It has allowed 24, 31 and 31 points, respectively. Mario Williams has the lone sack this season. The Jets, Titans and Jaguars repeatedly escaped third down.

"I think we're doing the right thing," coach Gary Kubiak said. "I just don't think we're doing it very well."

First-year defensive coordinator Frank Bush has been under the microscope for the defense's performances, but Kubiak has faith in Bush.

"I don't think it has anything to do with the calls or what's being called," Kubiak said. "I go back and watch the game and I think Frank called a good game. I don't think we executed some things very well, but the yards are what they are. They're there and obviously we've been giving up a bunch of them and we have to dig our way out of a real deep hole."

Bush spoke gravely about the team's difficulties.

"It's frustrating because throughout the week, you think you're doing the right things and you feel confident about your game plan going into it," Bush said. "When those things happen on gameday, it's frustrating because we thought we covered those basics."

{QUOTE}Now, the Raiders come to Reliant Stadium with a good rushing attack.

"They're committed to the run and they're good enough on defense to keep some people down," Kubiak said. "So I think it's obvious what we're going to get. Can we play a consistent game without giving up three big plays?"

The Texans need more than screaming and fist-clinching.

"It's unacceptable," linebacker DeMeco Ryans said. "You get paid to do a job and that's what we're here for, to do our jobs. Guys, like I keep saying and I sound like a broken record, have to step up and do (their) job. That's it."

Another repetitive post-game comment has been that players haven't been filling their assigned gaps. Cut back runs have resulted in long touchdown runs. Adrian Peterson hit them for a 71-yard score in the preseason. Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew bolted 61 yards on a strikingly similar play for a touchdown on Sunday.

"We were out of gap once again," Williams said. "Every time we sit here and give up big yardage like that, it's us. It's nothing they did at all. We had a guy right there and we were just completely out of gap."

Williams is right about one thing. A moving van could have driven through some of the holes left vacant by wandering defenders.

"I think sometimes guys are a little bit over-zealous," Bush said. "Guys try too hard. Other times, guys make mistakes. We're going to look at it and try to see exactly what it is and we have to figure out a way to stop giving up big plays."

Three opponents have completed 52 percent of their third down plays against Houston.

The Texans had the Jaguars third-and-11 in the second quarter. A 16-yard pass completion gave the visitors a first down. Jones-Drew ran 61 yards for a touchdown on the next play. Jacksonville was backed up third-and-10 in the third quarter. Again, the Texans let the fish get away, setting up Jones-Drew for a one-yard touchdown.

"Ain't nothing you can talk about," Williams said. "You've got to make the play."

Bush has been asked for three weeks, can this be fixed?

"I think so," he said. "I think structurally, we know what we're doing. We're confident in our scheme. I think we've just got to make sure every guy is on the same page, every time. It's a concern because we have to be able to get off the field, so that's a concern."

The Texans overcame defense to beat Tennessee 34-31. Kubiak is still voicing concerns.

"It's just no different, I mean, we're giving up some big plays and struggling to stop somebody," Kubiak said. "But my concern was the same last week. We've got a long, long way to go to getting to play good enough back there for us to win."

Kubiak also is perturbed about the lack of pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

"When you go back and look at the film, we should have gotten there four or five times yesterday (against Jacksonville)," Kubiak said. "But you've got to finish on a quarterback. You can't come close. You've got to finish plays and they're all involved in that. Scheme-wise we had some guys free. There is no reason why we should have come out of that a few times with him (not) going down."

Players say they're tired of talking about the problem. They are ready to solve it.

"I agree with them," Kubiak said. "I think it's time to fix some of these issues we're having. It's time for us, in a game, to be consistent in how we're doing something, how we're playing a defense, how we're defending a play and do it throughout the game. It's hurting us very badly."

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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