Do the Texans still have a tackling problem?

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The Houston Texans finished the 2020 season with 125 missed tackles, tied with the Buffalo Bills for the sixth-most in the NFL.

Unlike the Bills, the Texans didn’t get to go to the AFC Championship Game; they got to finish 4-12, find a new coach, new general manager, and tick off their franchise quarterback in the process.

However, with that came defensive coordinator Lovie Smith, who has a proven track record of success as the 2001 St. Louis Rams’ defensive coordinator and the 2006 Chicago Bears’ coach. Both teams represented the NFC in the Super Bowl.

Some things never change.

After two games into the 2021 season, the Texans are tied with the Baltimore Ravens for the fourth-most missed tackles in the NFL with 19.

According to Smith, the Texans have been working on their tackling, even with the in-season restrictions on practice.

“What you can’t practice is taking guys to the ground,” said Smith. “You say it’s bad tackling, it’s more of the approach, as much as anything, it’s about leverage with most things.”

Smith believes that was the problem against the Cleveland Browns in the 31-21 loss at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Browns’ duo of Kareem Hunt and Nick Chub churned 146 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries.

Leverage doesn’t solve everything as defenders must also wrap up, according to Smith.

Said Smith: “You don’t have to put a guy down all the way on the ground. It’s been so long since anyone has been tackling all the way to the ground. We play good games without missing tackles where we have been using the same approach, just got to concentrate on it a little bit more, get more guys to the ball and wrap up better.”

The Texans take on the Carolina Panthers Thursday night at NRG Stadium, and the 2-0 NFC South squad features a dynamic, shifty running back in Christian McCaffrey.