The Texans didn't play a game yesterday, but the week leading up to it was important.
Houston's bye was in Week 7, and they'll travel to Seattle this Sunday for a 3:05 pm CT matchup with the Seahawks. What the coaches did during the days prior to last weekend had a huge bearing on how the rest of the season will go.
"I think you have to show improvement after the bye week," head coach Bill O'Brien said. "That's why the bye weeks to me are so important from a coaching standpoint. What have you done to figure out the things that you need to continue to do well but the things that you need to change?"
O'Brien has often talked about the importance of self-scouting during the bye week, where he and the assistants pore over game and practice film from the portion of the season leading up to the break. Tweaking the Texans is an integral part of the coaching staff's job during the week without a game.
"We look in the mirror first during the bye week," O'Brien said. "OK, what do we need to do better coaching-wise? Look at the self-scout, look at these things. Why are we having trouble doing 'this?' Why are we having trouble doing 'that?' Let's figure out what we can do better. Is it about putting a player in a different spot, is it about a better scheme, is it about simplifying, what is it? OK, now let's look at the players. So, look at you first before you start looking at the players. I think it's very, very important that in football, that players and coaches understand that we're all in it together and if you start pointing fingers, 'Hey, you got to do this better,' that doesn't lead to successful football."
The Texans were bolstered by the addition of left tackle Duane Brown, as well as cornerback Kevin Johnson. The latter was returning from a knee injury he suffered in the Week 2 win at Cincinnati. Both Brown and Johnson were at practice on Monday, and excited to be back.
"I'm definitely itching to get back out there and make some plays for this defense," Johnson said.
For veteran corner Johnathan Joseph, getting back on the field and being active was a nice change from the week away from work.
"Obviously you sit down too long, you start to get out of rhythm," Joseph said. "So you've got to kind of do things to keep your mind focused and keep your football mentally sharp, and obviously getting into football, there's no better way than doing that."
The Texans will return to practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before flying to Seattle on Saturday.