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Hello, I’m KPRC 2 Sports Director Randy McIlvoy checking in with this week’s Texans update.
WHAT’S COMING UP?
The Texans are off to an 0-1-1 start to this new NFL season after tying the Colts opening week and then losing a close one this past weekend in Denver to the Broncos 16-9. Now it’s on to the Windy City where they will face the Chicago Bears this Sunday at historic Solder Field.
Remember the Bears week 1 game against the 49ers when it looked as if a tropical storm rolled over the stadium? It won’t be that bad this Sunday, but the forecast does call for a 40% chance of afternoon showers and a high in the upper 60’s with wind at 10-20 mph. Hoping the rain doesn’t roll in until late afternoon which would allow them to get this game in during dry conditions.
STRUGGLING OFFENSE OR IS MILLS SET TO IMPROVE?
That’s the big question about this offensive group. Will they make improvements as the weeks pile up? They were decent against the Colts but went AWOL in the 4th quarter when Indy made their run to tie it and force overtime. The struggles continued some in Denver as they failed to score a touchdown and had their chances inside Denver’s 10-yard line. Davis Mills has not shown us yet that he has taken big steps forward here in his 2nd season. On the small sample size, I see no difference to this point on Mills’ game. He’s better at home but struggles on the road. He’s been inaccurate as well and he along with the receivers have to get on the same page when it comes to the routes. Too many mistakes.
I’ve got to think not only do we all see that Mills is not lighting it up, but the coaches certainly do as well. They will never say that publicly.
MILLS ON THE RECORD
After the first two games, what do you tell the offense going forward? “Just keep straining, trying to make plays. We do it out here in practice. We did it all camp, throughout preseason, just got to execute once we get in the games. It starts with me, I’ve got to make all the throws, and I know that. Just got to keep pushing for what we’ve been training for. I think we’re ready to perform. We’ve just got to do it.”
Does having a guy like RB Dameon Pierce give you a little more confidence when you step up and throw? “Definitely. When you have a guy who’s going to make the first person miss or get out of that first tackle and fall forward, keep getting positive yards, that’s what you want on offense. When you’re rushing for five yards a play or close to it, that’s what you want. It’ll put us in third-and-manageable situations or second-and-short. If we feel like we can be in those situations, we feel like we can convert those plays and keep the ball moving.”
What do you think the identity of this offense can be? “Ground and pound football team who’s going to make the defense have to play the run, but then when they do, let’s take some shots and move the football down the field.”
Where do you feel like you’re at in those late game situations, trying to score at the end of the game? “I’m comfortable in those situations. Just got to execute my job. Looking back on it, there’s opportunities down the field. Got to execute with those. Missed a couple throws this last game, but then if they cover up, like I said before, we’ve got to be able to get our checkdowns the ball and let them make plays and move the ball that way. Just seeing that on film and reflecting on it, I think we’re in a really good spot right now. Those fourth quarter moments late in the game when we’ve got to go down and do something. Those are the make or break between a good team and a bad team. I think our team is really optimistic about where we’re at and we’re ready to go and prove it this weekend.”
KEYS TO A WIN IN CHICAGO
The Bears are not a great football team on either side of the ball. That said, this is the NFL and any team can get a W at any time. We’ve seen it already this season. No lead is safe.
The Texans have a chance here to jumpstart things offensively especially with RB Dameon Pierce. The Bears run defense was horrendous last season and is dicey again so far early in this season.
I would love to see the carry count for Pierce go higher than the 15 he got in Denver. He’s more than capable of anywhere from 18 to 25 carries on a given day. The offensive line needs to do their part as well and let Pierce go North-South which he loves to do. He’s a tough, hard-nosed runner who is not afraid of contact.
Davis Mills needs to get on the same page with Brandin Cooks, Nico Collins and his tight ends. The constant check downs are a problem. He needs protection and when he gets it in Chicago, like I believe he will, he needs to lock in and sling it with accuracy.
Defensively for the Texans, stopping the run is critical. Their back David Montgomery is really good and went for over 100 yards Sunday in Green Bay. They’ll rotate in and have two nice weapons. The other key of course is containing and frustrating QB Justin Fields. He’s in the new era of young quarterbacks that can do it all. When he’s on the run he is dangerous. The Texans front needs to bring pressure and create chaos for Fields early and often.
Prediction: Texans win 23-20 Enjoy the game and see you soon at NRG Stadium!
Don’t forget to watch Texans Gameday with Lovie Smith each Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. on KPRC 2!
Each week, Pro Football Network reporter Aaron Wilson covers the Houston Texans for KPRC 2 and Click2Houston.com. Bookmark the Houston Texans page on our site to follow his coverage.