One of the issues that Gary Kubiak harped on during his weekly press conference was David Carr's interception at Tennessee. Carr threw an errant play action pass into quadruple coverage. The ball was intended for wide receiver Andre Johnson.
Naturally, the turnover bothered Kubiak. But Kubiak's reaction was about more than the giveaway. It was about translating what occurs during practice earlier in the week to the game on Sunday.
"We went through that rep Wednesday, you know?" Kubiak said, explaining his conversation with Carr on the sideline after the pick. "This is the same look you got on Wednesday. You made the right decision on Wednesday, why did we make the wrong decision on Sunday? That's kind of how that goes. It's something that we're battling through. I have to have him see that."
Kubiak continued paraphrasing his conversation with Carr.
"'David, when you do it right on this day, it has to carry over to Sunday. When that stadium fills up with 80,000 screaming people, the result can't be different. It has to be the same.' And he sees that. And it's not just David. There are other players with the same situation, you know. I am as upset about us busting some formations as I am anything."
If the Texans are going to achieve their goal of becoming a winning team--which they got close to in 2004--they're going to have to win some contests on the road. There are things you can do in practice to prepare for away games, like simulated crowd noise, but really it just takes focus and confidence to execute in hostile environments.
This Sunday at Giants Stadium, the Texans have another road test, and it could be more difficult than their game at Tennessee. The Giants are 5-2. Their offense is loaded with weapons like Eli Manning, Tiki Barber and Jeremy Shockey, and their defense has two of the NFL's best pass rushers in Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora.
Kubiak is searching for players that can replicate their practice reps on the road. Chances are that if a player can't do that, he'll find himself next to Kubiak on the sideline. Nobody knows that better than Carr.
One sign of a struggling quarterback that fans should look out for this weekend is sloppy footwork. Kubiak thinks that a signal-caller's feet are as much an indication as anything as to how comfortable he is in the pocket.
Needless to say, Kubiak believes Carr's footwork needs to be better against the Giants than it was against the Titans.
"His feet are the key to him playing well, and when he gets fast or things start to happen too fast for him, his feet get out of whack," Kubiak said. "As a quarterback, when you're not stable in what you're doing with your feet, you're probably not going to throw the ball very well and make very good decisions. So that's a big task for him, and that task for him is on the road, okay? It's the same way because he's doing some things different on the road than he's doing at home. And I have to figure out how to make them the same."
Kubiak can do only so much. It's up to Carr to go the rest of the way.