The Texans gave up 205 rushing yards, which was more than their 170.2 rushing yards per game from a season ago with a different coaching staff deploying an outdated scheme. Things were supposed to change under new coach DeMeco Ryans, not stay the same.
Houston may still have work to do with their run defense to complete the turnaround, but there was an optimistic step against the New Orleans Saints Aug. 27 in the 17-13 win.
The Texans held the Saints to 91 yards on the ground. No New Orleans ball carrier crested the 35-yard mark.
While keeping teams under the century mark each week may be unrealistic, hitting the target in the last preseason contest was a fitting conclusion.
“To start the game, I thought that our run defense was really good,” Ryans told reporters from the Caesars Superdome. “I thought that the challenge on defense this week was to set edges, to swarm, and to tackle. I think that we did that defensively. We only let one get out with the quarterback, but I am proud of how our guys responded this week to the run defense.”
With 9:14 to go in the third quarter, rookie quarterback Jake Haener scrambled for 26 yards to the Houston 29-yard line, which eventually setup for a Saints field goal to pull within four.
However, the effects from missing expectations against the Dolphins a week ago fueled the drive to demonstrate improvement.
Said Ryans: “We had a bad taste in our mouth last week. That’s not the type of run defense that we expect to play, so, I am happy with how they responded this week.”
Houston kicks off the regular season Sept. 10 at the Baltimore Ravens at 12:00 p.m. Central Time.