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Houston Texans

Vandermeer's View: Take a deep breath

We're six games into the Bill O'Brien era and the start has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. Three exhilarating wins (is there any other kind) and three gut-punching losses (is there….well, you know).

The defense has made some huge plays. They lead the league in takeaways with 14 and despite occasionally surrendering big chunks of yardage, often find a way to rise up and steal the show (read: J.J. Watt).

Aside from the Buffalo game, in which the Texans lost the turnover battle, couldn't run it and somehow won (see 'defense' above), the ground game has been one of the better ones in the league. But, and this is hardly breaking news, the Texans need much better starts on offense.

They've only scored 14 total points in the first quarter this season and it's putting too much stress on the defense. Imagine what this defense would do with consistent leads? In two of the Texans wins they've been down six points (no big deal) and 10 points (a bigger deal).

After going nowhere in the first half against Indy, the offense settled in and put up three touchdowns. Against Dallas, they awakened in the second half with 17 points after the break. They clearly have the ability to move the ball but have a hard time doing it early. And it'll kill their season if they don't fix it fast.

Even though J.J. Watt and the defense are getting the ball out and making headlines, it's not all flowers and candy on that side of the rock either. The deep ball has been hurting them. Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, T.Y. Hilton are among the receivers who have cashed in with big aerial plays.

Houston has given up 10 pass plays of over 30 yards this season while their passing attack has put up five plays of that distance. As many big plays as the defense has made, they need to find a way to cut down on giving up the long ball as much as they have.

But I'm here to tell you there's still time for the 2014 bounce we've been hoping for. It takes time to get a new offensive system to gel. And with the rep of being complicated that this system has, it's no wonder it hasn't rolled out with blazing efficiency.

What's encouraging is that the Texans were right in these last two games. Even in the loss to the Giants, they were down seven late in the third. They're right there. They just haven't closed the deal.

It won't get any easier going to Pittsburgh on a Monday night. And to have a good shot at a winning campaign you get the feeling that they need to hit the bye at 5-4. But we have no choice but to see how it plays out. We're in the beginning of a new era. Sure, last year's frustrations are fresh in our minds. But this staff tore down that system and is building from the ground up. We're still under construction.

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