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Raring to go, but room for improvement


Coach Gary Kubiak said he was proud of his team for playing with intensity for four quarters.

After reviewing film Monday morning, Texans head coach Gary Kubiak saw a team that had improved, but still needed to get better.

Rewinding the game: Kubiak and his coaching staff spent Monday morning watching and re-watching film of Sunday's game. Offensively, the coach thought the team did a good job of stepping up to make big plays and converting on crucial downs.

"Of course, none bigger than Andre (Johnson), but that's been an emphasis for us," Kubiak said. "It's so hard to go up and down the field on people without finding a way to get on and off the field quickly with some big plays. We were excited about the fact that we make those big plays."

The coach wasn't as excited about the offensive line's penalties and turnovers, especially when the Texans were trying to run up their lead in the third quarter.

"We had a couple of communication problems in protection which factored in, but the biggest thing were the mistakes, the holding calls," Kubiak said. "We had a couple of guys down field, which that's inexcusable."

Kubiak told the o-line the same thing during the game, which provoked a heated discussion with guard Chester Pitts. However, Pitts and Kubiak smoothed things over Monday morning.

"Chester and I had a long talk this morning and I believe in Chester," Kubiak said. "I think he should be a great player, not a good player, I think he should be a great player. I challenge him every day to do that. Today is no different. He's going to have to come back and play better. He's going to play against some great players inside this week, him and Steve (McKinney) and Fred (Weary). They're all going to have to play well. There is definitely room for improvement there."

"D-line" scores an A: The film session did reveal how far the Texans' defensive line has progressed since the preseason. The pass rush finally got to the passer. Defensive ends Mario Williams and N.D. Kalu combined for three sacks. And defensive tackle Travis Johnson picked off Kansas City quarterback Damon Huard for an interception.

"The thing I liked is when we knew they had to throw the ball (and) try to make some plays, I think we did a good job of pinning our ears back and getting after them, and I don't know if we've done that in the past," Kubiak said.

Kubiak gave kudos to his coaching staff for pacing the defense and bringing out the best in the Texans' personnel.

"I think Jethro (Franklin) and Frank (Bush) did an excellent job with our substitution process," Kubiak said. "When we came into the game, we said we wanted to play Anthony (Weaver) so many plays. He hit that right on the nose. How you substitute the defensive line, how you keep those guys fresh and going, I think, is a big key. You have to have a plan going in."

Mario 1, Reggie 0: Williams can boast that he has more touchdowns this season than Saints' running back Reggie Bush. He can also brag that he looks really great on camera.

Kubiak said Williams' performance looked even better on film.

"Mario had some numbers with the sacks and of course the fumble recovery, but the great thing was when you went back and watched the film, he was even better than you thought," Kubiak said.

"He was a factor, he was a force. When he wasn't getting to the quarterback, he was tying a lot of people up so that N.D. (Kalu) could get there, so that other guys could be a factor. He played well in the run game. He actually caused, as I said, he caused that one fumble with his hustle and effort. He was just 100% all day in the way he went about his business."

Working the Clock: Kubiak also praised the way quarterback Matt Schaub worked the clock during a fourth quarter 10-minute drive.

"I told Matt, I said, 'Listen, now we're not going to slow the game down by any means; we're going to be aggressive and play. But just between you and I, you make sure you're using the whole clock. Don't let anybody in the huddle know; I don't want them to see us slowing down,'" Kubiak said. "I thought Matt did a great job with the players of using the whole clock, not conveying to them we're trying to eat this up but keeping them focused on what we were doing."

Simmons update: Safety Jason Simmons is recovering from surgery to a torn patellar tendon in his left knee. In his first start as a Texan, Simmons suffered the injury midway through the second quarter and will have to spend the remainder of the year on the injured/reserve list.

"He's been a successful player in this league for a long time," Kubiak said. "It was a great opportunity for him as a pro to start here, and he was doing a fine job. For that to happen is very disappointing."

Simmons' season-ending injury means newly-acquired safety Michael Boulware will start to see playing time as soon as North Carolina.

"We're going to have to catch him up real fast now because he's going to have to become a factor," Kubiak said. "I think he'll do that. He's putting in the extra time. He's played a lot of football."

Injury Notes: Kalu, who fractured several bones in his hand during the game and returned to play with a cast, will continue to play in a cast...Safety Vonta Leach had back spasms, but will return to practice on Wednesday.

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