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Reports: Neil Rackers to sign with Redskins

Posted by Nick Scurfield on April 24, 2012 – 7:18 pm

Kicker Neil Rackers, who spent the last two seasons with the Texans, is signing with the Washington Redskins.

John McClain of the Houston Chronicle and Mark Berman of FOX 26 Sports both reported the news on Tuesday evening.

“We’re headed to Washington,” Rackers said, according to Berman. “I visited with Coach (Mike) Shanahan and (special teams coach) Danny Smith out there yesterday and really enjoyed what they had to say. I’ll be competing for a job with Graham Gano, who is an established, good kicker. We’re going to see what happens, but it seems like the best opportunity for me and my family at this point. There’s more upside, more opportunity for advancement in Washington.”

The Texans do not have a kicker with the start of the 2012 NFL Draft less than 48 hours away. They could draft a kicker for the first time in team history.

Rackers, 35, was 59-of-68 (86.8 percent) on field goals in two seasons in Houston. He was 43-of-44 under 40 yards (97.7 percent) but only 16-of-24 (66.7 percent) from 40+. He went 3-of-4 in the 2011 playoffs, coming up just short on a 50-yarder at Baltimore in the Divisional Round.

Rackers also has more special teams tackles than any other kicker in NFL history, a trait that surely will be missed by Texans fans. He had 11 special teams tackles in the last two seasons, including this one against Marc Mariani of the Tennessee Titans.


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Joe Marciano talks Donnie Jones, Brett Hartmann and Neil Rackers

Posted by Nick Scurfield on March 30, 2012 – 2:09 pm

The Texans shored up their special teams on Friday by signing punter Donnie Jones, a free agent who spent the last five seasons with the St. Louis Rams.

Jones is now the second punter on the roster. He joins Brett Hartmann, an undrafted rookie in 2011 who’s still rehabbing from a torn ACL suffered on Dec. 4. Hartmann is suspended for the first three games of the 2012 season because of a failed drug test.

The Texans still do not have a kicker, as Neil Rackers remains unsigned as an unrestricted free agent. Rackers went 59-of-68 (86.8 percent) on field goals over the last two seasons in Houston.

Special teams coordinator Joe Marciano discussed Jones, Hartmann and Rackers on Friday at Reliant Stadium:

What excites you about this signing?
“We got a veteran player who’s young in age. You know, 31’s not old by any means. He’s a local guy – he’s from Baton Rouge, so I consider him local. I’ve watched him punt throughout his career, and overall, I think he’s a solid addition to our team as a person and as a player.”

Jones was top-four in the NFL in net punting average from 2007-10 but 26th in 2011. What happened, and are you concerned about the drop-off?
“I think when you look at numbers, you’ve got to watch the tape to see where they were punting; what type of coverage teams he had. Did they miss tackles? Did he have good core special teams guys playing with him? You’ve got to go to tape and see what happened. All I know is he came out in 2004 and he got cut in the middle of the year, and then two years later, he has a 50-yard average and is number one in the league. So he’s proven he can work through the growing pains. He’s met some adversity. He’s dealt with it. He’s moved on. Like I said, I’m glad we got him.”

How does he rate as far as hang time and other particular attributes?
“He can hang the ball. That’s the number one prerequisite of a punter. I watched his whole season last year. He started out real strong. Coming out of training camp and in the preseason games, he had more 5.0s [hang time] in the first four games than I’ve seen around here in a long time. I’m gonna tell you, the guy can hit a 5.0. He can angle punt. He can punt the ball out of bounds if you need to. He’s pretty good at everything. And he’s a good holder – a really good holder.”

Where does this leave Brett Hartmann?
“Well, Brett’s gotta understand, he has to compete when he comes back. We know Brett has the ability to kick off really, really well. Just come in and compete. Last year, he was practically handed the job and it was his to screw up, but he did pretty good. Now, he has to compete for the punting job.”

Does Jones kick off?
“He can, in a pinch.”

Where do things stand with Neil Rackers?
“We’d like to have Neil back, but now it’s in the agent and [vice president of football administration] Chris Olsen’s hands.”


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Full list of Texans free agents

Posted by Nick Scurfield on March 13, 2012 – 11:27 am

With the NFL’s free agency period beginning in less than three hours (3 p.m. CT), here’s a full list of the Texans’ free agents, which includes 15 unrestricted players and one restricted:

Unrestricted
CB Jason Allen
S Dominique Barber
G Mike Brisiel
DE Tim Bulman
QB Jake Delhomme
ILB Tim Dobbins
TE Joel Dreessen
QB Jeff Garcia
WR Bryant Johnson
C Chris Myers
K Neil Rackers
G Kasey Studdard
P Matt Turk
RB Derrick Ward
OLB Mario Williams

Restricted
S Quintin Demps
(RB Arian Foster – signed March 6)

Exclusive Rights
(LS Jon Weeks – signed March 5)


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Mario Williams, Chris Myers among Texans’ impending free agents

Posted by Nick Scurfield on March 12, 2012 – 3:38 pm

The NFL free agency period begins on Tuesday at 3 p.m. CT, less than 24 hours from now. We’ll have every Texans angle covered right here.

The Texans do not expect to be as active in free agency as they were in 2011, when they signed cornerback Johnathan Joseph and free safety Danieal Manning to long-term deals. Their top priority is re-signing their own players, including outside linebacker Mario Williams and center Chris Myers. Both Pro Bowlers will become unrestricted free agents unless the Texans sign them before tomorrow’s deadline.

The Texans have made it clear they want both players back. Williams said on Feb. 16 that it would “mean a lot” if he could stay in Houston and that he isn’t necessarily looking to become the highest-paid defensive player in the league. Myers said a couple weeks later that he wants to remain a Texan but was feeling out the free agency process.

Other notable impending free agents are right guard Mike Brisiel, who has started for the Texans since 2008; tight end Joel Dreessen, who led the Texans with six touchdowns catches in 2011; kicker Neil Rackers, who set a team record with 135 points last season; and cornerback Jason Allen, who has seven interceptions for the Texans while sharing playing time with Kareem Jackson over the last two seasons.


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Ravens 20, Texans 13: Postgame notes

Posted by Nick Scurfield on January 15, 2012 – 10:57 pm

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Courtesy of the Texans’ communications staff, postgame notes from the Texans’ 20-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the Divisional Round of the playoffs on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium:

THE TEXANS…

  • Outrushed the Ravens 131 to 87. It was the second consecutive postseason game in which Houston outrushed its opponent and the 14th game overall this year.
  • Limited Baltimore to 227 yards of total offense and an average of 3.6 yards per play. Houston gave up only 11 first downs in the game, which is tied for the second-fewest given up in a game this year. Houston held Cleveland to 10 first downs on 11/6.
  • Scored first for the first time in the postseason and the 13th time overall this season. Houston fell to 9-5 in those games this year and 0-1 in the playoffs.
  • Trailed after each of the first three quarters. It was the first time this postseason that Houston trailed in each instance. Overall, Houston has trailed after one quarter four times, with a record of 1-3 in those games, and has trailed at halftime and after three quarters five times each and is 1-4 in both instances.
  • Team captains were WR Andre Johnson and C Chris Myers on offense; ILB Brian Cushing, ILB DeMeco Ryans and DE Antonio Smith on defense; and K Neil Rackers representing the special teams.
  • The Ravens won the toss and deferred the option to the second half. The Texans elected to receive the opening kickoff.

RB ARIAN FOSTER

  • Rushed for 132 yards on the day, giving him a two-game total of 285 this postseason. That is the most by any running back in NFL history in his first two playoff games, surpassing Dallas RB Duane Thomas’ total of 278 yards in 1970.
  • His 132 rushing yards were the sixth-most by a player against Baltimore’s defense in a game, regular season or postseason, since 2000 and the most since 9/26/10 when Cleveland RB Peyton Hillis rushed for 144 yards against the Ravens.
  • Rushed for 95 yards on 15 carries in the first half. His 95 yards are most that Baltimore’s defense has ever surrendered to a single player in a postseason game. The previous high was 91 yards by Eddie George for Tennessee on 1/7/01.
  • Scored on a 1-yard run in the second quarter. Foster has scored a rushing touchdown in four consecutive games and in back-to-back playoff games.
  • Became the 17th player in NFL history to rush for more than 100 yards in back-to-back postseason games. He topped the century mark on his first carry of the second half, his 16th of the game.
  • Has topped 100 rushing yards in four consecutive games dating back to the regular season.

WR ANDRE JOHNSON

  • Surpassed 100 receiving yards for the first time in his postseason career. He topped the century mark on his eighth catch of the day, a gain of 16 yards late in the fourth quarter. Johnson has 38 career 100-yard games in regular-season play.
  • Topped 100 receiving yards for the second consecutive game against Baltimore. He caught nine passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns against the Ravens on 12/13/10.

FS DANIEAL MANNING

  • Returned the opening kickoff 60 yards to the Baltimore 41-yard line. The return was his longest of the season, bettering a 46-yard return in the season opener vs. Indianapolis (9/11).

OLB JESSE NADING

  • Forced a fumble on a kickoff return in the first quarter. It was Nading’s first career forced fumble in either regular season or postseason action.

K NEIL RACKERS

  • Connected on his second field goal of the game when he hit a 33-yard field goal in the second quarter. It marked Rackers’ second career playoff game with multiple field goals. He made four-of-five field goal attempts in a Divisional Playoff at Carolina on 1/10/09 as a member of the Arizona Cardinals.

OLB BROOKS REED

  • Was credited with his second sack and his first forced fumble of the postseason when he stripped the ball out of Baltimore QB Joe Flacco’s hand in the first quarter. It was Reed’s first career forced fumble.
  • Notched his second sack of the game when he dropped Flacco for a 5-yard loss in the third quarter.
  • Teamed with DE J.J. Watt to sack Flacco for a 12-yard loss in the fourth quarter. It gave Watt and Reed each 2.5 sacks on the day, which is a career high for both.

DE J.J. WATT

  • Registered his second sack of the postseason when he tackled Baltimore QB Joe Flacco for an 8-yard loss in the second quarter.
  • Made his second sack of the game when he dropped Flacco for an 8-yard loss in the third quarter, tying his career high. He had 2.0 sacks at Jacksonville (11/27).
  • Teamed with OLB Brooks Reed to sack Flacco for a 12-yard loss in the fourth quarter. It gave Watt and Reed each 2.5 sacks on the day, which is a career high for both.
  • Led the team with a career-high 12 tackles, including nine solo stops, three tackles for loss and three quarterback hits.

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Texans-Ravens Divisional game blog

Posted by Nick Scurfield on January 15, 2012 – 2:21 pm

I’ll be posting updates after every score in the Texans’ Divisional Round playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Scroll to the bottom of the post for the most recent updates.

The Ravens won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. The Texans received the opening kickoff.

First quarter

12:24: Texans 3 — Ravens 0

Texans kicker Neil Rackers makes a 40-yard field goal.

Drive summary: 5 plays, 20 yards, 2:36

Key plays: Texans free safety Danieal Manning returned the opening kickoff 60 yards to the Baltimore 41-yard line. Rookie quarterback T.J. Yates completed an 11-yard pass to wide receiver Andre Johnson on the Texans’ first play from scrimmage. The Ravens stuffed running back Arian Foster for no gain on third-and-one from the 21.

9:51: Ravens 7 — Texans 3

Ravens tight end Kris Wilson catches a one-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Flacco on third-and-goal.

Drive summary: 3 plays, 2 yards, 1:21

Key plays: Texans wide receiver Jacoby Jones tried to field a 64-yard punt by Sam Koch on a bounce at his own 13-yard line. Jones muffed it and was held up by a Ravens player, and Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith recovered at the 6-yard line. He returned it to the 2.

6:02: Ravens 10 – Texans 3

Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff makes a 48-yard field goal.

Drive summary: 6 plays, 30 yards, 2:47

Key plays: Flacco hit wide receiver Anquan Boldin for a 21-yard gain over cornerback Kareem Jackson o n second-and-four from the Baltimore 46. Cornerback Johnathan Joseph broke up a pass intended for wide receiver Torrey Smith in the end zone on second-and-four from the Houston 27. Rookie linebacker Brooks Reed sacked Flacco on the next play and forced a fumble, but the Ravens recovered at their own 30-yard line.

1:08: Ravens 17 – Texans 3

Flacco hits Boldin for a 10-yard touchdown pass on second-and-seven.

Drive summary: 5 plays, 34 yards, 2:05

Key plays: Yates was picked off by cornerback Lardarius Webb  at the Houston 34-yard line. Three plays later on third-and-nine from the 33, the Ravens beat a heavy Texans blitz with a 20-yard screen pass to running back Ray Rice. Boldin scored two plays later.

Second quarter

11:42: Texans 6 — Ravens 17

Rackers makes a 33-yard field goal.

Drive summary: 11 plays, 59 yards, 4:26

Key plays: On third-and-three from the Houston 33, Yates hit Foster on a short pass over the middle that turned into a 16-yard gain. Foster ran for 19 yards to the Baltimore 32 on the next play. On third-and-eight from the 30, Yates threaded a pass to tight end Owen Daniels for 17 yards and a first down.

4:48: Texans – 13 – Ravens 17

Foster runs for a one-yard touchdown on third-and-goal.

Drive summary: 12 plays, 86 yards, 5:49

Key plays: Foster started the drive with a 28-yard carry down the left sideline. Baltimore challenged that he went out of bounds after about 10 yards, but the ruling on the field was upheld after review. Johnson moved the chains with catches of 12 and 13 yards. Foster followed the second one with a 14-yard run. Three plays later, Foster made a sensational catch on third-and-nine from the Baltimore 17, then weaved his way 12 yards for a first down.

Third quarter

Fourth quarter

2:52: Ravens 20 — Texans 13

Cundiff makes a 44-yard field goal.

Drive summary: 10 plays, 45, 4:29

Key plays: The drive started after Yates was picked off by Webb at the Baltimore 29-yard line. Flacco completed a 13-yard pass to tight end Dennis Pitta two plays later. On second-and-nine from the Houston 45, Flacco hit Boldin for a 14-yard gain. That was followed by a five-yard run by Rice and two consecutive incompletions to end the drive.


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Texans 31, Bengals 10: Postgame notes

Posted by Nick Scurfield on January 7, 2012 – 10:57 pm

Courtesy of the Texans’ communications staff, postgame notes from the Texans’ 31-10 Wild Card victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday at Reliant Stadium:

THE WIN…

·         Was the first in postseason play in franchise history.

·         Made Houston the sixth expansion franchise since 1976 to win its playoff debut, joining Carolina (1996), Jacksonville (1996), Baltimore (2000), Seattle (1983) and Tampa Bay (1979). The Cleveland Browns, who returned to play in 1999, lost in their first playoff appearance in 2002.

·         Was the first for a Houston pro football franchise since December 29, 1991 when the Houston Oilers defeated the New York Jets 17-10 in an AFC Wild Card Playoff Game.

THE TEXANS…

·         Outrushed the Bengals 188-65. Houston outrushed its opponents 11 times during the regular season and was 8-3 in those games.

·         Posted a plus-three turnover margin, intercepting three passes while not giving the ball away. The Texans were 6-2 in the regular season when they had a positive turnover margin.

·         Scored 14 points off of three takeaways. During regular-season play, the Texans scored 119 points off of 27 takeaways.

·         Led at halftime and after the third quarter. Houston led at intermission and after three quarters 11 times each in the regular season and went 8-3 in those games in both instances.

·         Were tied at the end of the first quarter. Houston was only tied after the first quarter once in the regular season and won that game.

·         Set a franchise attendance record with a crowd of 71,725, topping the previous mark of 71,585 earlier this year vs. Pittsburgh (10/2).

·         Team captains were WR Andre Johnson and C Chris Myers on offense; ILB Brian Cushing, ILB DeMeco Ryans and DE Antonio Smith on defense; and K Neil Rackers representing the special teams.

·         The Bengals won the toss and deferred the option to the second half. The Texans elected to receive the opening kickoff.

TEXANS PLAYOFF FIRSTS…

·         First play from scrimmage: RB Arian Foster carried up the middle for 5 yards.

·         First run: 5-yard run by Arian Foster.

·         First pass: incomplete pass from QB T.J. Yates to WR Andre Johnson.

·         First penalty: false start by RB Arian Foster.

·         First tackle: ILB Brian Cushing stopped Cincinnati RB Cedric Benson for a 2-yard gain.

·         First punt: 56-yard punt by Matt Turk, returned 7 yards by Brandon Tate.

·         First punt return: 2-yard return by WR Jacoby Jones in the first quarter.

·         First completion: 20-yard pass from QB T.J. Yates to WR Andre Johnson.

·         First first down: 20-yard pass from QB T.J. Yates to WR Andre Johnson.

·         First touchdown: 8-yard run by RB Arian Foster in the first quarter.

·         First kickoff: Neil Rackers kicked off in the first quarter. The kick went 9 yards deep in the end zone and was kneeled down for a touchback.

·         First sack: OLB Brooks Reed sacked Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton for a 9-yard loss in the second quarter.

·         First interception: DE J.J. Watt intercepted Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown late in the second quarter.

·         First lead: The Texans took a 17-10 lead with :52 remaining in the first half when DE J.J. Watt returned an interception 29 yards for a touchdown.

·         First touchdown pass: QB T.J. Yates hit WR Andre Johnson for a 40-yard score along the left sideline with 1:08 remaining in the third quarter.

·         33 Texans made their postseason debuts: ILB Mister Alexander, OLB Connor Barwin, OLB Bryan Braman, RG Mike Brisiel, LT Duane Brown, DE Tim Bulman, G Antoine Caldwell, FB James Casey, NT Shaun Cody, ILB Brian Cushing, TE Owen Daniels, TE Joel Dreessen, RB Arian Foster, CB Kareem Jackson, DE Tim Jamison, WR Andre Johnson, WR Bryant Johnson, WR Jacoby Jones, FS Shiloh Keo, CB Brice McCain, CB Sherrick McManis, NT Earl Mitchell, OLB Jesse Nading, T Derek Newton, SS Glover Quin, OLB Brooks Reed, ILB DeMeco Ryans, RB Ben Tate, FB Lawrence Vickers, DE J.J. Watt, LS Jon Weeks, RT Eric Winston and QB T.J. Yates.

ILB BRIAN CUSHING

·         Finished with a game-high eight tackles, including five solos and one tackle for loss. Cushing either led the team or tied for the team lead in 10 of Houston’s 16 regular-season games.

RB ARIAN FOSTER

·         Scored the first touchdown in Houston Texans postseason history when he ran around left end for an 8-yard touchdown with 4:57 remaining in the first quarter.

·         Surpassed 100 rushing yards on his 19th carry of the day, a gain of 7 yards in the fourth quarter. He finished the game with 153 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns.

·         Became the seventh undrafted player to rush for more than 100 yards in a playoff game, and his 153 rushing yards were the third-most by an undrafted player.

Player                Date             Tm   Opp  Att    Yds   Avg     Lg     TD
Arian Foster        1/7/2012       Hou  Cin    24     153   6.4       42t    2
Willie Parker       1/11/2009     Pit     SD    27     146   5.4       27     2
Ryan Grant         1/12/2008     GB    Sea    27     201   7.4       43     3
Dominic Rhodes 2/4/2007       Ind    Chi    21     113   5.4       36     1
Priest Holmes      1/11/2004     KC    Ind    24     176   7.3       48     2
Derek Loville      12/27/1997   Den   Jac    11     103   9.4       44     2
Dan Doornink     12/22/1984   Sea    LAA 29     126   4.3       -        0

·         Scored his second touchdown of the game on a 42-yard run in the fourth quarter.

WR ANDRE JOHNSON

·         Caught his first career pass in postseason play for a gain of 21 yards in the first quarter. He finished the game with five catches for 90 yards and a touchdown.

·         Caught his first career touchdown pass in postseason play and the first touchdown pass in Texans playoff history when he hauled in a 40-yard scoring strike from QB T.J. Yates in the third quarter.

CB JOHNATHAN JOSEPH

·         Recorded his first career interception in postseason play and his first at Reliant Stadium this season when he picked off Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton in the fourth quarter.

FS DANIEAL MANNING

·         Intercepted a pass from Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton in the fourth quarter. It was Manning’s first career pass in seven postseason games.

K NEIL RACKERS

·         Booted his seventh career field goal in postseason play when he hit a 39-yard attempt in the second quarter.

DE ANTONIO SMITH

·         Sacked Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton for a loss of 8 yards in the third quarter. It was Smith’s third career sack in postseason play. He had 2.0 sacks in the 2008 playoffs for the Arizona Cardinals, getting one each vs. Atlanta on 1/3/09 and one at Carolina on 1/10/09.

DE J.J. WATT

·         Intercepted a pass in the second quarter and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown. It was Watt’s first career interception in either regular season or postseason play and the first defensive touchdown in Texans postseason history.

Player                   Date          Tm   Opp     Int    Yds   Avg  Lg        TD

J.J. Watt                 1/7/2012    Hou  Cin       1       29     29.0  20t       1
B.J. Raji                 1/23/2011  GB    Chi       1       18     18.0  18t       1
Clyde Simmons     12/28/1996         Jac       Buf   1       20     20.0     20t 1
Michael Carter       1/12/1991  SF     Was     1       61     61.0  61t       1
Darryl Grant          1/22/1983  Was  Dal       1       10     10.0  10t       1
Jack Youngblood   12/27/1975         LAN    StL    1       47     47.0     47t 1

·         Sacked Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton for a 7-yard loss to end the second quarter. It was his first career sack in postseason play.

QB T.J. YATES

·         Threw the first touchdown pass in Houston Texans playoff history when he hit WR Andre Johnson on a 40-yard pass down the left sideline in the third quarter.


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By the numbers: Top-10 Texans in 2011

Posted by Nick Scurfield on January 5, 2012 – 11:02 am

On Tuesday, we looked at where the Texans ranked statistically as a team in 2011. Here’s a look at individual Texans players who finished in the top 10 of the NFL in various categories.

QB Matt Schaub (season-ending foot injury, Week 10)
6th in passer rating (96.8)
3rd in yards per attempt (8.49)
6th in touchdown percentage (5.1)
6th in interception percentage (2.1)

RB Arian Foster (missed Weeks 1 & 3, hamstring; Week 17, rest)
1st in scrimmage yards per game (141.6)
2nd in rushing yards per game (100.4)
5th in rushing yards (1,224)
T-8th in rushing touchdowns (10)
5th in rushing first downs (58)
T-8th in runs of 10+ yards (32)
3rd in yards from scrimmage (1,841)
9th in scrimmage touchdowns (12)
2nd in average yards after catch (12.1)

RB Ben Tate (missed Week 5, groin)
7th in average yards per carry (5.4)
T-6th in rushing first downs (53)
T-5th in runs of 10+ yards (34)

OLB Connor Barwin
T-9th in sacks (11.5)

K Neil Rackers
T-5th in total points (135)
T-3rd in field goals made (32)
6th in 50+ FG percentage (80.0)

P Brett Hartmann (season-ending knee injury, Week 13)
8th in punting long (69)

WR Jacoby Jones
T-3rd in punt return touchdowns (1)
T-9th in punt return long (79t)
T-9th in long reception (80t)


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Texans have 14 players, 14 coaches with playoff experience

Posted by Nick Scurfield on January 5, 2012 – 9:55 am

Most of the Texans’ coaching staff has extensive playoff experience, but, as this is the franchise’s first trip to the postseason, most Texans players have none.

Among players, 14 of 53 (26.4 percent) on the active roster have played in a postseason game. In other words, 39 of 53 (73.6 percent) have not. The Texans have a total of 53 games of playoff experience on the roster, including four Super Bowl appearances.

Will that be a factor against the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday? Texans head coach Gary Kubiak, who has been to six Super Bowls as a player and coach, was asked Tuesday about overcoming his team’s lack of playoff experience.

“I don’t know that answer,” he said. “I mean, I’ve been asked so many times. It is what it is. From that standpoint, as far as our players, maybe that’s a good thing that they don’t have a lot of things to pull from. It’s just, ‘Go play it like any other game.’ They know that the result – the biggest factor – you can move on. If you don’t play well, you’re not moving on, you’re going home. They all understand that, but this is the Houston Texans’ first taste of a playoff game.”

Kubiak said that playoff-tested veterans Antonio Smith and Danieal Manning have stepped up as leaders this week, passing along “a lot of great information” to their teammates – not to mention taking things up a notch on the practice field.

“Watching Danieal Manning practice today and watching him prepare – if you’re his teammate, you know there was something different about it today,” Kubiak said Tuesday. “You just ask those guys to lead the way, and we got a lot of good players that need to jump in there and go with them, so we’ll find out.”

Among coaches, 14 of 16 (87.5 percent) have playoff experience. Defensive backs coach Vance Joseph and offensive assistant Marc Lubick are the lone exceptions. The Texans’ coaching staff has coached and/or played in 175 postseason games. Kubiak has coached in 16 and played in four. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has coached in 26.

The Texans have eight coaches who have participated in Super Bowls, with 10 rings and 20 appearances among them. Kubiak won three Super Bowls as a coach — one as quarterbacks coach in San Francisco in 1994 and two as offensive coordinator in Denver in 1997-98.

“I hope they (players) look at our staff and pull from everybody,” Kubiak said. “Wade’s been in a lot of big football games, (offensive coordinator) Rico (Rick Dennison), guys have been in a lot of playoff games, have been around those type of things. They got to look to everybody, and like I said, there’s a lot of information to be passed along this week, whether it’s from me, coaches, players who’ve played in playoff games, but the bottom line is we’re going to play with the same ball, we’re going play on the same fields.  That was my message to them (Tuesday) morning: ‘Hey, whatever you did during the season, you did a hell of a job.  You make sure you’re doing the same thing this week as we prepare for Saturday.’”

Here’s a list of the 14 Texans players with postseason experience:

Player: Number of Playoff Games
QB Jake Delhomme: 8 – 2 WC (2003-04), 3 D (2003, 2005, 2008), 2 C (2003, 2005), 1 SB (2003)
ILB Tim Dobbins: 7 – 2 WC (2007-08), 4 D (2006-09), 1 C (2007)
P Matt Turk: 7 – 4 WC (1999-02), 3 D (1999-2000, 2002)
QB Jeff Garcia: 6 – 4 WC (2001-02, 2006-07), 2 D (2002, 2006)
K Neil Rackers: 6 – 2 WC (2008-09, 2 D (2008-09), 1 C (2008), 1 SB (2008)
FS Danieal Manning: 5 – 2 D (2006, 2010, 2 C (2006, 2010), 1 SB (2006)
DE Antonio Smith: 4 – 1 WC (2008), 1 D (2008), 1 C  (2008), 1 SB  (2008)
FS Quintin Demps: 3 – 1 WC (2008), 1 D (2008), 1 C (2008)
C Chris Myers: 2 – 1 D (2005), 1 C (2005)
CB Jason Allen: 1 – 1 WC (2008)
CB Johnathan Joseph: 1 – 1 WC (2009)
LG Wade Smith: 1 – 1 WC (2006)
WR Kevin Walter: 1 – 1 WC (2005)
RB Derrick Ward: 1 – 1 D (2008)
* WC = Wild Card round, D = Divisional round, C = Conference championship, SB = Super Bowl


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Titans 23, Texans 22: Postgame Notes

Posted by Nick Scurfield on January 1, 2012 – 8:07 pm

Courtesy of the Texans’ communications staff, postgame notes from the Texans’ 23-22 loss to the Titans at Reliant Stadium in Week 17:

THE TEXANS…

  • Finished the season with a franchise-best record of 10-6. With the loss today, Houston finished the season 5-3 at home, 4-2 against AFC South opponents and 1-1 against Tennessee. Houston’s 4-2 intra-division record matches the best in team history.
  • Outrushed the Titans, gaining 152 yards on the ground to Tennessee’s 60. It was the 11th time this season that the Texans outrushed their opponents, and the Texans fell to 8-3 in those games.
  • Won the time of possession battle for the 12th time this season, holding the ball for 34:38. Houston fell to 9-3 in those games
  • Scored on their opening possession of the game for the ninth time this season and the second game in a row.
  • Led after the first quarter for the 12th time this season.
  • Trailed at halftime for the fourth time this season.
  • Scored on their opening possession of the second half for the 10thtime this season and the fourth consecutive game.
  • Were tied after three quarters for the second time this season.
  • Sold out their 100th consecutive home game, including regular season and preseason contests, with a crowd of 71,512. Houston has sold out every home game in franchise history.
  • Team captains were WR Andre Johnson and C Chris Myers on offense, ILBs Brian Cushing and DeMeco Ryans and DE Antonio Smith on defense and K Neil Rackers representing the special teams.
  • The Titans won the toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff.

TEAM RECORDS SET IN 2011…

  • Wins (10) – Previous record was 9 in 2009
  • Consecutive wins (7) – Previous record was 6 from 12/13/09-9/19/10
  • Fewest touchdowns allowed (27) – Previous record was 39 in 2004 and 2009
  • Fewest points allowed (278) – Previous record was 333 in 2009
  • Fewest yards allowed (4,571) – Previous record was 5,198 in 2009
  • Rushing yards gained (2,448) – Previous record was 2,042 in 2010
  • Fewest rushing yards allowed (1,536) – Previous record was 1,711 in 2009
  • Fewest net passing yards allowed (3,035) – Previous record was 3,141 in 2002
  • Fewest first downs allowed (270) – Previous record was 291 in 2002
  • Fewest interceptions thrown (9) – Previous record was 12 in 2010
  • Sacks (44.0) – Previous record was 37 in 2005
  • Home attendance (Season avg. 71, 496) – Previous high was 71,081 in 2010

HEAD COACH GARY KUBIAK

  • Saw his record drop to 47-49 with the loss.
  • Lost the final game of the regular season for the first time in his six seasons as head coach.

CB JASON ALLEN

  • Made his first start since Week 5 vs. Oakland (10/9), starting in place of an inactive Johnathan Joseph. Allen finished the game with two solo tackles.

G THOMAS AUSTIN

  • Saw action for the second time this season and got his most extensive playing time when he subbed for starting C Chris Myers in the second half.

OLB BRYAN BRAMAN

  • Teamed with OLB Jesse Nading to sack Tennessee QB Matt Hasselbeck for a 7-yard loss in the third quarter. It was the first sack of his career.

FB JAMES CASEY

  • Caught his career-high sixth pass of the season when he hauled in a 15-yard throw in the third quarter. His previous high was five receptions in Week 3 at New Orleans (9/25). He finished the game with seven catches for 91 yards with a long of 21.

QB JAKE DELHOMME

  • Made his Texans debut when he stepped in for starter T.J. Yates in the first quarter. Delhomme completed 18-of-28 pass attempts for 211 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions, giving him a passer rating of 99.0.

FS QUINTIN DEMPS

  • Led the team with a career-high six tackles, all of which were solo stops.

ILB TIM DOBBINS

  • Forced a fumble in the fourth quarter. It was his first forced fumble of the season and the sixth of his career.

T ANDREW GARDNER

  • Made his NFL debut when he came on for a field goal attempt in the third quarter.

TE GARRETT GRAHAM

  • Caught his first career pass, a 24-yard gain in the third quarter.

WR ANDRE JOHNSON

  • Extended his franchise-record streak of consecutive games played with a sack to 82 when he caught a 5-yard pass in the first quarter.

WR BRYANT JOHNSON

  • Caught a season-long 40-yard pass in the fourth quarter. The catch was his longest since 11/16/08 when he caught 42-yard pass for San Francisco against St. Louis.
  • Caught his first touchdown of the season and the 16th of his career when QB Jake Delhomme hit him in the back of the end zone from 5 yards out late in the fourth quarter. It was Johnson’s first touchdown catch since 1/3/10 when he caught a 12-yard touchdown for Detroit against Chicago.

WR JACOBY JONES

  • Caught three passes for 35 yards, which put him over 500 receiving yards for the second consecutive season. He entered the game needing 23 yards to reach the milestone.

FS SHILOH KEO

  • Saw his first career action as a punt returner. He fair caught the first punt that came his way and finished the game with one return for 11 yards.

NT EARL MITCHELL

  • Finished the game with a career-high six tackles, including five solo stops, and one pass defensed. His previous high was five tackles vs. Carolina (12/18).

OLB JESSE NADING

  • Registered his first partial sack of the season when he teamed with OLB Bryan Braman to sack Tennessee QB Matt Hasselbeck for a 7-yard loss in the third quarter. The sack gave Nading 4.0 for his career.
  • Recovered the first fumble of his career in the fourth quarter.

K NEIL RACKERS

  • Made all three field goal attempts, hitting from 72, 37 and 22 yards, to give him a franchise-record 32 field goals on the season. The previous mark was 29 field goals by Kris Brown in 2008.

DE ANTONIO SMITH

  • Sacked Tennessee QB Matt Hasselbeck for a 7-yard loss in the first quarter. The sack gave him 5.5 on the season, which matches his career high set in 2007 with Arizona. It also moved him past Jason Babin into third on the franchise’s all-time sack list with 14.0.
  • Notched his second sack of the game when he tackled Hasselbeck for an 8-yard loss in the second quarter. The sack gave him a career-high 6.5 on the season. His 2.0 sacks also tied a career single-game high, matching his performance at Oakland on 10/3/10.

RB BEN TATE

  • Made his second career start and his first since Week 3 at New Orleans (9/25), finishing with 97 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.
  • Scored his fourth rushing touchdown of the season on a 4-yard run to cap the Texans’ opening drive. His last touchdown was in Week 11 at Tampa Bay (11/13).
  • Ran for a 56-yard gain on the first play of the second half. It was the longest run of the season for the Texans and the longest of his career. The previous long was a 44-yard run by Tate at Cincinnati (12/11).
  • Had a career-high 24 receiving yards and tied a career high with four receptions. His previous bests were four catches and 13 receiving yards, both at Miami in Week 2 (9/18).

RB DERRICK WARD

  • Finished the game with season highs in rushing attempts and rushing yards, carrying 12 times for 50 yards. His previous highs were 11 attempts and 39 yards, both against Indianapolis in Week 1 (9/11).

QB T.J. YATES

  • Started for the fifth time and completed all four of his pass attempts for 47 yards before leaving the game early in the first quarter.

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