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Houston Texans

Kubiak stands behind rookie CB Jackson


Texans coach Gary Kubiak is standing behind rookie cornerback Kareem Jackson.

The first-round draft pick out of Alabama was beaten for two long touchdown catches by wide receiver Seyi Ajirotutu, an undrafted rookie, in Sunday's loss to the San Diego Chargers. After the game, Jackson accepted much of the blame for the team's loss.

"Obviously, he's in a big, big situation for a young man to start from day one at corner, and he gave up some big plays yesterday, but that tells you what he's all about," Kubiak said on Monday at his weekly press conference. "He's going to be a heck of a player. (He's) going through some tough times, especially yesterday, but he has been doing some good things.

"We've got a lot of confidence in him. He just needs to keep working. I have no doubt in my mind that he's going to be one heck of a football player. Now, at the same time, he's got to start making those plays. We expect him to do that. His teammates expect him to do that. What he's telling you is that he expects to do that."

When the Texans drafted Jackson 20th overall in April, they talked about his toughness, ball skills and quick feet. They also liked his experience at Alabama under Nick Saban, where he started 40 of 41 games and won a national championship as a junior.

Jackson has two interceptions this season, but he also has been victimized on numerous big pass plays, the latest of which came on Sunday. Still, Jackson says that his confidence hasn't wavered, and Kubiak didn't hesitate on Monday to say that he'll be sticking with Jackson in the starting lineup.

"You bet," Kubiak said. "I believe he is the best guy to be back there. It's the best thing for this football team. He gave up the big plays (Sunday), and we got beat in man-coverage…

"I think he has done some good things, too. I think we could show you a lot of positive things the young man has done, but when you give up big plays, it's like anything else: If you play 70 plays in a game and you play 65 of them pretty darn good and five of them aren't very good, well, the five that aren't very good are gonna get talked about when you don't win."

Given how critical some of Jackson's negative plays have been, Kubiak was asked why they don't outweigh the positive plays and possibly lead to a shake-up of the depth chart.

"Because I believe in the kid," Kubiak said. "I'm watching him practice every day. I'm watching him work. I'm watching him do his job in this (meeting) room, and I'm standing behind him and his teammates are standing behind him. You gotta believe in people or you're not going to get anywhere in this business. I believe in the kid."

Like Kubiak, Texans players acknowledge that it will take a collective effort to improve their 32nd-ranked defense. The Texans have forced only eight turnovers, tied for second-fewest in the league, and recorded only 12 sacks, tied for fourth-fewest in the league.

"We could get after the quarterback better," middle linebacker Brian Cushing said. "We could cover better. We could do a lot of things better. The bottom line is just getting it done. That's the thing that we just have to figure out how to do…  It's an 11-man defense. There's 11 guys out there trying to make plays. You can't put it on a specific position group."

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