Behind Enemy Lines

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Behind Enemy Lines: A Quick Look at the Houston Texans

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NASHVILLE – The Titans face the Texans on Sunday at NRG Stadium in Houston.

Here's a quick look at the Texans:

Record: 4-11.

Last game: December 27, 2020: Bengals 37, Texans 31.

Points for/against: 23.1/28.2 ppg.

NFL RANKINGS

Offense: 17th overall, 369.8 ypg (30th rushing, 4th passing).

Defense: 30th overall, 411.7 ypg (31st rushing, 26th passing).

TEAM LEADERS

Head coach: Romeo Crennel.

Offense:

QB: Deshaun Watson (354-of-505, 4,458 yards, 30 TDs, 6 INTs, 112.1 rating).

Top RB: David Johnson (133 carries, 607 yards, 5 TDs).

Top WR: Brandin Cooks (70 catches, 984 yards, 4 TD).

Top TE: Darren Fells (21 catches, 312 yards, 4 TDs).

Defense:

Sacks: J.J. Watt (5).

Leading tackler: Zach Cunningham (150).

Interceptions: Many tied with 1.

Take/Give: -9 (8/17).

Kicker: Ka'imi Fairbairn (23-of-27 FGs, 35-of-37 PATs).

Punter: Bryan Anger 46.5 (41.8).

Last meeting: October 18, 2020: Titans 42, Texans 36.

Of note:

-Texans offensive coordinator Tim Kelly is the brother of Titans right tackle Dennis Kelly. The two were raised in Chicago Heights, Illinois.

-Texans linebacker Zach Cunningham played at Vanderbilt University.

-Texans center/guard Zach Fulton played at the University of Tennessee.

-Texans coach Romeo Crennel played at Western Kentucky, where he later served as an assistant coach.

-Titans center Ben Jones and tight end MyCole Pruitt all previously played for the Texans.

-Titans running back D'Onta Foreman appeared in 11 NFL contests over two seasons with the Texans after being selected by Houston in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Injury Report

-The Texans released their final Injury Report on Friday and it looked like this: G/T Brent Qvale (concussion) did not practice on Friday and is out, T Laremy Tunsil (ankle) did not practice and is doubtful, WR Keke Coutee (foot) was a full participant and is not listed with an injury designation, CB Phillip Gaines (knee) was limited and is questionable, RB Duke Johnson (neck) was limited and is questionable.

Texans Interim Head Coach Romeo Crennel …

(on what has led to the success of head coach Mike Vrabel)

He's smart. He knows football. He works at the game, works at the business, and it's paid off for him on the playing field and now it's paying off for him on the coaching field as well. I think he has a good feel for the game, feel for players, can get players to play, do what they need to do to help the team win. He has a good vision for what his team needs to do to win.

(on not being surprised that Mike Vrabel is on the verge of his second playoff berth in three seasons)

No, I'm not surprised. As a player, he always did a very good job. He was always prepared, and he always played hard. I know that he coaches the same way. The fact that they're on the verge is great for them.

(on how the Titans have changed and progressed since their first meeting this season)

I think the system is the system, and the system that he has in place is working for him, both offensively and defensively. The difference that one might see is there might be a player or two who is not available or who's nicked up a little bit, but the players that he has on the team from the first game to this game, the philosophy is the same.

(on the possibility of winning the Week 17 matchup and knocking the Titans out of the playoffs in the process despite liking Mike Vrabel)

It's a division game, and every time you play a division game, you want to win your division games. We want to win the game, one, because this is a division game, and then it would be nice for us win because we know a lot of those guys on the staff. Everybody is competitive. If we can win, we can talk to them about it for a year, or if they win, they're going to talk to us about it for a year. That's the nature of the game of football that we play.

(on Texans defensive end J.J. Watt's postgame comments and if that can impact the Texans preparation this week)

Only time will tell what kind of impact that they'll have. We'll have a good week of preparation and then we'll go play a good game on Sunday. I think that how we play, what the outcome of the game is, might determine what impact the comments had.

(on taking pride in preventing running back Derrick Henry from reaching 2,000 yards on the season)

That would be great if we could do that. I know that he's probably planning on it. But what we have to do is we have to keep him from getting to the second level, because once he gets to the second level, he becomes a different animal then. He's done very well getting to the second level against a lot of teams. We know we've got our work cut out for us, but we're going to line up and we're going to play hard and see if we can slow him down.

(on the competitiveness and high-level play of Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson)

Deshaun (Watson) is a competitor. He enjoys the game. I tell you what, I think more than anything else he enjoys playing and he enjoys playing at a high level, which he plays at most of the time, and a lot of times this year, even though we haven't been in the best situation, we haven't had all the players that we started with, he still enjoys going out to play the game. There was some talk about him not playing this game, but he will have nothing to do with that. He wants to play because of the competitor that he is. He knows the gameplan. He gets out on the field and he executes. He makes plays, he helps other guys make plays. That says a lot about the young man.

(on if Derrick Henry or the receivers make quarterback Ryan Tannehill better)

I think that Ryan (Tannehill) has always had ability even though he started off as a receiver, he had quarterback in his background, and then to be able to go from a receiver to being a quarterback, and a top-notch quarterback, that says a tremendous amount about him. He doesn't control the weapons that he has around him. Mike (Vrabel) has put a pretty good team around him offensively. He's got a good runner. He's got a top-notch receiver, and he's a top-notch quarterback because he does what quarterbacks need to do to win the game.

Titans HC Mike Vrabel on …

(how the team has responded from Green Bay)

We had to turn the page quickly and be able to – Sunday would not have been a disappointment if we can learn from some of those things and how we need to play the game. I think they have. We're into Wednesday and fully into the Houston prep.

(what has allowed Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson to perform well this season)

He's fantastic. There's a calmness. I don't think there ever looks like there's any panic when things break down sometimes in the pocket. He's got amazing play strength, quick release, can throw from different platforms with guys hanging all over him. He's got the ability to scramble, to extend plays. He keeps his eyes downfield, doesn't concern himself with the rush, can feel the rush. He's accurate. It's a huge challenge. That's what it is in this league. There are fantastic players and Deshaun (Watson) is one of them.

(on the keys to the Week 17 matchup)

Try to find a way to win a game. Find a way to win one game. We'll have some specific keys that we'll talk to them about in each phase. We have to do everything we can to take advantage of this opportunity. Be engaged, start meetings fast, start meetings with some energy. Same thing we need to do on the practice field.

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