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Texans can take pressure off by bringing more


We've picked apart the carcass of the 0-2 start plenty. Nobody is happy about the first two games but the fact remains that regardless of record, the team will have to be ready for a suddenly confident and capable Tampa Bay squad.

Never mind that this team had the number one overall pick in the draft. So did the Texans last year and they reeled off nine wins. The Bucs are coming off a big victory at the Superdome so they won't be pre-rattled by the concept of visiting NRG Stadium.

If Houston is going to use this as a springboard to a productive string of games, one thing is clear; it's time to get the takeaway train rolling again.

Last year at this time the Texans were plus five in the turnover margin. Now they're minus two with only one takeaway. Two years ago, in the 2-14 meltdown, the Texans had the 7th ranked defense but failed to consistently get turnovers. That combined with the offensive struggles spelled doom.

No one is saying this team is headed down that road. But rarely do playoff teams not appear on the positive side of the turnover ledger. It's paramount to take care of the ball and get some easier scores with some ball hawking by the defense. While the Texans develop Ryan Mallett and get their offensive line going, it'll be a plus to get some drive starts in opposing territory, if not scores generated by the defense.

And how do they do that? By bringing heat. Plenty of it.

Not just J.J. Watt but whoever Romeo Crennel sees fit to send after the quarterback. This ups the ante for Whitney Mercilus, Jadeveon Clowney and friends. And extra defenders might be added to the mix as well. Raise your hand if you enjoyed seeing Quintin Demps and Eddie Pleasant sprint into Cam Newton last week.

Bill O'Brien also made it clear that special teams needs to keep the officials from throwing flags. Too many penalties in return situations are producing difficult field position. But ultimately Mallett has to play well. We saw many good things from him last week but he gave a great two word answer when John McClain asked him what aspect of his game needs improvement. "More completions" he said.

Jameis Winston isn't exactly Andrew Luck but it's too early to assess him. He is coming off a win and the ceiling is totally unknown so every week he's capable of surprising whoever he faces.

You would think the NRG crowd and a fired up Texans defense would be able to fluster him but you never know. He's played in a ton of big games and crucial clutch situations in his life and has handled most of them brilliantly. It's up to the Texans to make sure his upside is extinguished for at least one particular afternoon.

The Houston Texans practice squad is featured, in pictures. (Updated 9/4/2016)

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