Houston offense looks to rebound against Seattle

The Associated Press

HOUSTON (AP) -- The Houston Texans know their offense has to improve after scoring just nine points in their first loss of the season last week.

The unit has plenty of problems, but perhaps the biggest one is the recent play of quarterback Matt Schaub. Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison was blunt when asked about Schaub.

''He's got to get better,'' Dennison said.

Schaub has thrown four interceptions this season and two of those have been returned for touchdowns. Dennison couldn't put his finger on exactly why Schaub, who had 12 interceptions last season, has been so mistake-prone this year.

''I don't know,'' Dennison said. ''He's made bad decisions. That's about as far as I can tell you. He made a bad decision with the ball and he's learning from them. We can't make those bad decisions.''

Dennison said the coaching staff asks Schaub, who is in his 10th season, to explain his mistakes and together they try to figure out how he can avoid making the same miscues in the future.

Schaub knows that he has to clean up his play, but he believes that the biggest key to improving is to forget the bad plays he's made and move forward.

''You can't dwell on things that have happened,'' Schaub said. ''You can't change the past. Just go look to the next play to be better and put yourself and your team in a better position. That's where my focus is, is to be better for my team this week. They depend on me and need me to be that.''

This week, he'll face the NFL's top defense in Seattle, a team which has forced 10 turnovers this season and is allowing a league-best nine points a game. The unit features a secondary with three of the four starters that 6-foot-3 or taller.

''They do everything,'' coach Gary Kubiak said. ''They can run, physical, they're all long. Even if you get a step on them or so, they find a way to make plays with their length. They've just been exceptional.''

Despite his recent problems, the Seahawks know that dealing with him and the rest of Houston's offense won't be an easy task.

''He's really good, he's really accurate, he has a tremendous group to throw to, they have a style of getting the ball down field,'' Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. ''It's really effective.''

''You can be all over a guy and he can put the ball where the receivers and the only guy who can get it and he does that a lot,'' Carroll continued. ''So we think a lot of him.''

The Texans are also hoping to get back to running the ball the way they have in the past. The success of the offense is predicated on being able to run the ball, but they haven't been able to run as much as they'd like after trailing for large chunks of each of their games this season.

''We definitely would like to get our running game going more,'' Kubiak said. ''We've actually run the ball pretty decent, but we just have not stayed on the field to run it.''

The Texans also struggled with penalties on Sunday against the Ravens, committing 14 for 113 yards. Houston's offensive line was flagged three times as it adjusted to playing without veteran left tackle Duane Brown, who missed the game with a toe injury.

Brown is feeling better this week, but the Texans aren't sure if he'll be ready to play on Sunday. Like Schaub, the line aims to turn in a better performance this week.

''Matt (Schaub) got hit too much,'' left guard Wade Smith said of Sunday's game. ''We definitely want to get it back on track and get us doing what we do around here, running the ball, controlling the clock and dictating defenses.''



AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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