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Vandermeer's View: Stopping the slide

Bill O’Brien says it’s a bottom line business. Right now, the Texans are in the red. The stock is down. The analysts might be saying ‘sell.’

But just like with a down market, somebody has to call bottom. Maybe it’s time. With a few key corrections, this team should start the climb from 0-3 and begin playing up to preseason hopes and expectations.

The first needed improvement centers on pre-snap penalties. The Texans have been flagged 11 times prior to the snap, tied for second most in the NFL. If they could cut them in half (because they are going to happen from time to time) that would obviously be a boost.

These have been drive killers. These are like Commodus stabbing Maximus before the start of their battle in Gladiator. Moving the ball is tough enough. The Texans are only making life harder on themselves.

This is a team that’s 8th in the entire NFL in offense. Eighth!! But they’ve seen too many scoring chances and goal-to-go situations fizzle out. Yard production has been good. Point production has been a different story.

Another area that needs work is takeaways. The Texans are tied for only 19th with three. It’s early, but lack of causing turnovers is a trend that cannot continue if this team is going to win consistently.

That’s easier said than done. Romeo Crennel cannot simply command the players to separate the ball from the opponent. The Texans work on ‘ball-removal’ drills (this is my term, not theirs. But it has a nice ring to it, I thought) in practice and need to see their efforts pay off on Gameday.

We all saw the returning marquee names on the depth chart coming into the season. Maybe it was too much to ask everyone to be guns-blazing from day one when four of the front five starters missed a combined 33 games last season.

But perhaps the rust is almost all knocked off of the big three pass rushers and we can finally realize the dream of having a harmoniously productive, backfield-wrecking power trio of J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus.

The road back to .500 starts with a date at Indy. At this point in the story I am compelled to mention that the Texans are 7-25 all-time against their nemesis. But the wins at Lucas Oil Stadium in ’15 and ’16 should still be fresh in the minds of some of the Texans. These were season-altering victories that we won’t soon forget.

And that’s what we’re looking for on Sunday; a win to stop a damaging slide and spark a run to compete in the AFC South race.

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