Three days after losing their second consecutive game on a last-second pass, the Texans returned to practice at the Methodist Training Center on Wednesday. They'll face the Tennessee Titans in five days at Reliant Stadium.
"It's human nature not to feel too damned good today, but we got back to work," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "We'll get them in here real, real early tomorrow and get in another good day of practice and be ready to play... You've got to work through tough times. If you're not bothered, you've got a problem. So, yeah; hell yeah, it bothers us. But when it's time to go to work, you go to work."
A four-game losing streak has dropped the Texans to 4-6 on the season.
"We know that we're not where we want to be as a football team," wide receiver Andre Johnson said. "If you look at practice the way we went out and practice today, our energy and everything is where it needs to be. Of course we're upset about the things that have happened, but guys are working to get it fixed."
McNair speaksAfter Wednesday's practice, Texans owner Bob McNair spoke to the media about the Texans' recent struggles. Blog: McNair chimes in
"None of us are happy with the performance of our team," McNair said. "We are underperforming. Our coaches know that; they say that. Our players know that; they say that. We've got to turn this thing around. The way we'll do that is by playing 60 minutes. That's the emphasis."
Defensive end Antonio Smith was among several players who said the feeling was mutual.
"He's just speaking it how it is," Smith said. "If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck. You can't say nothing against it. The statistics are what they are. We are underperforming. We have a good team, we have great players on the team, but we're not winning. That's what this game is about, and right now we're not pulling it off."
Jumpstart neededAside from a 20-point first half against the Chargers in Week 9, the Texans haven't scored more than seven points in the first half since Week 4 at Oakland.
"We addressed that today as a team, as an offensive unit, that we've got to get off to a better start," running back Arian Foster said. "Hopefully, the things that we work on this week will improve that."
The Texans have scored the most second-half points in the NFL.
"We've got to have that mindset from the jump and stop worrying about trying to pick it up in the second half," wide receiver Jacoby Jones said. "When we come out in the first half, just go to work. Simple as that. Make plays. Make big-time third down plays and big-time third down catches."
Health checkDefensive end Mario Williams (groin), tight end Owen Daniels (hamstring), linebacker Xavier Adibi (hamstring) and defensive end Jesse Nading (knee) sat out of practice with injuries on Wednesday. Kubiak said that Williams will be OK and play on Sunday. Daniels' status is less clear.
"Owen worked with the trainers today," Kubiak said. "He is better. You know, I don't know. He's going to be day-to-day."
Among those who were listed as full participants in practice were Johnson and linebacker Zac Diles. Diles missed Sunday's game against the Jets with an illness. Johnson hadn't practiced on a Wednesday in several weeks because of a high-right ankle sprain.
"There's been a lot of progress made with my ankle," he said. "This is the first time I practiced on Wednesday in a long time, probably since the second week of the season. I felt good today running around out there. I was just running around having fun like I usually do in practice. My ankle felt pretty good."