For the last few years people in Houston have been waiting for their favorite football team to finally take the next step, but it hasn’t happened. An explosive offense has been let down by a terrible defense and great starts have turned into disappointing finishes. This might finally be the year that the Texans go to the playoffs for the first time in the history of the franchise.
The offense is prolific again with quarterback Matt Schaub leading the way, the defense made improvements this offseason, and the Colts are one of the worst teams in the NFL now that they have Kerry Collins running the offense in Indianapolis. This time the Texans hot start to the season won’t end in heartache again. The AFC South is there for the taking and they are too talented not to grab the crown.
Matt Schaub joined KILT in Houston with Vandermeer and Lopez to talk about the team’s ability to run the ball to ice the game, what he sees in Ben Tate, how this year’s 2-0 feels different than last year’s 2-0, what happened to Arian Foster in the game last week, and talks about the upcoming game against New Orleans.
On the team’s ability to run the ball to ice the game:
“Yeah absolutely. When you have the ball in the fourth quarter and you have a two score lead, you’re inside ten minutes or eight minutes or whatever you have and your coach basically is just saying that the offensive line, the tight ends on the edges, and the game is in your hands. Let’s go get a few first downs, use that clock, or make them use timeouts. Let’s end the ball game on the field and let’s ice the game. I think it’s more for our own sake and a statement to ourselves than it is a statement to the other team because they know we’re gonna run the ball and when you can just run it right at them and you’re churning out first down after first down it deteriorates their confidence and for us it’s fun to watch those guys up front work and get excited about that.”
What he sees in Ben Tate right now:
“We really are. Ben has a good look in his eye when he is in there. He understands the run game, understands the blocking schemes, and the one cut running. He’s really doing well with it. The more consistent he is the better off we will be. He’s playing really well right now. He understands his blitz pickups, he’s catching the ball out of the backfield, getting us into good situations, he’s protecting it for us. As long as he keeps doing those things we’re gonna be in good shape but it all starts up front with those guys understanding their assignments and opening up a lane where he can get downhill. He’s got some burst in the hole and he runs some people over and breaks some tackles which is fun to watch.”
On the difference between this year’s 2-0 start and last year’s:
“Both games were total group efforts when you look at this year’s 2-0. The way both games were won by scoring points, getting yards, defense creating turnovers, getting off the field on third down, stopping them in the red zone, and just the overall confidence of what we’re doing across the board. Our special teams is making a bunch of big plays in both of the games. With Jacoby on the punt return and D-Man back there on the kick return our special teams are giving us great field position and the defense is playing lights out. Offensively we’re taking care of the football and scoring points. As long as we keep doing those things in all phases we will be in good shape.”
What happened with Arian Foster in the second half against the Dolphins:
“Yeah I really don’t know what the situation was with Arian but obviously something was happening there. For the long term of the season we need to get him 100 percent. But it was good to have him out there early. He was running well, he found the creases, and made some big plays for us. Ben was in there and the thing about our backs, every single one of them can do all three things we ask our backs to do. Run the football, block, they catch the ball out of the backfield, and make plays. We had a second down and twenty and I threw the ball to Ben Tate and normally those plays go for four, five, or six yards, but he was able to get us 10 or 11 and put us in a reasonably manageable third down situation.”
On New Orleans:
“They’re obviously a very solid football team across the board and it’s a very tough environment to go play in so everyone has to understand that in that dome it’s gonna be a hostile environment, a lot of noise, and they’re a very good football team. A great defense and we know what they can do on offense. We’re gonna have to really be on our game in all three phases. Convert on third down, execute in the red zone, take care of the football, and all those things and we’ll be in good shape.”