Things I am looking/hoping for in the Texans game;
Coming out and looking good, at least the 1st quarter, teams coming of bye's almost always dominate at least the 1st quarter. It is a bad sign if we come out and struggle early in the game after having a bye.
Offensive line: It all starts with these guys, they have to get it together. Staley has been our only offensive lineman playing solid football thus far. David Baas really needs to step it up and while I don't like rotating offensive lineman, I hope with Rachal rotating with Adam Snyder, it will force him to step up and get more focused. I think Tony Pashos will do a solid job at RT. I have never been a big Eric Heitman fan. The Texans have a good front 4 and a aggressive front 7, so this group will have their hands full.
Shuan Hill: I just wonder if Hill got exposed vs the Falcons and he is a starting quarterback in the NFL. He does a lot of little things well but he can't get the ball down the field and he struggles getting rid of the ball when he is being chased because he has almost no arm strength. He has to step it up and play at least solid and show that he can make a throw or two down the field (15-20+yds)
Our Secondary vs the Texans receivers: The Texans obviously have Andre Johnson who is one of the two best, if not the best WR in the NFL. But they also have Kevin Walter, Jacoby Jones, Owen Daniels at TE and Steve Slaton is good at catching the football out of the backfield. Clements will have his hands full with Johnson but I think he can do an effective job, he just can't let or miss any tackles with that guy. I like Spencer on Walter and Goldson on Daniels but uh oh, Mark Roman is starting this week at SS...
Our Pass Rush: We have regressed in the pass rush department almost every week since game 1, IMO. Parys Haralson had a great game vs AZ but has basically dissapeared since. He must step it up and show he is a starter in this league. I also look for Ahmad Brooks to get some more snaps. I know most QB's are not the same when they have pressure on them but Schaub is one of those guys who is great when he has time but struggles when he has pressure coming at him, I want to see some Patrick Willis blitzing up the middle and some other guys besides Justin Smith coming with a pass rush.
Our Return game: This is a huge problem on our team right now. I am not comfortable with Arnaz Battle returning punts, I would rather have Michael Spurlock or Brandon Jones returning punts. I do think Delaine Walker is a solid KR, he has a nice burst and uses his weight and momentum well on KR's (for the most part). We also have to do a good job of covering the Texans Jacoby Jones when he is returning kicks.
Oh and Michael Crabtree.... I am pumped to see this kid play and with all the great things I have been hearing and reading about him, I am that much more excited. That being said, there is no way I expect him to have a 6-8 catches, 100+yd game. I just can't see it from a guy who signed 3 weeks ago and in this offense. I do think he will help this team even if he does not catch many passes. I also think he is not going to play as much as some people migh think he is. I think Sing has the Texans maybe thinking that way on purpose, but while Crabtree will start, I think he only plays 20-25 snaps. Still I think he will have an impact in this game. I also am excited to see what Morgan can do as the slot WR and I think/hope you will see him rotate some with Issac Bruce.
Bottom line: We have to win this game, this is a big game coming out of our bye. We lose this game and we are 3-3 going into Indy next wk. Winning this game would obviously put us to 4-2 and give us a little cusion and room for error going down the stretch but losing would be a big setback and really limit our chances of winning the division. It's simple for us, we have to run the ball, play good defense and not turn the ball over. But we (Jimmy Raye/Shuan Hill) also have to show we can be a little creative and move the ball through the air. Getting a early lead would be huge, esspecially if we can get up 10-0 or 14-0 because it will limit the Texans playaction bootlegs that they do oh so well.
Big game, I feel the same way going into this game like I did when we were going into the Arizona game opening week....Uncertain! Im just not sure what to expect but I do know we need to win!