Culley, Texans prepared for opener against Jaguars

By Tyler Tyre, Times Sports Editor
Posted 9/11/21

“I’m looking forward to this team,” said Texans head coach David Culley. “I like what this team has done during training camp and during the preseason games. Other than the last game where we turned the ball over so much, I’ve really felt good about this football team.”

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Culley, Texans prepared for opener against Jaguars

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The Houston Texans are ready to get out on the field.

After an offseason of change and uncertainty the team is ready to let its play do the talking.

“I’m looking forward to this team,” said Texans head coach David Culley. “I like what this team has done during training camp and during the preseason games. Other than the last game where we turned the ball over so much, I’ve really felt good about this football team.”

Culley and the Texans will finally have a chance play an official NFL game on Sunday, when the team takes on the Jacksonville Jaguars at noon on Sunday at NRG Stadium to open the 2021-22 NFL season.

It’s a battle of two new look teams as Houston and Jacksonville meet, as both teams have new faces at head coach and at quarterback.

The Texans new quarterback this year is Tyrod Taylor, who completed 12-18 passes for 81 yards in the preseason. Taylor has already started to gel with his teammates and wide receiver Brandin Cooks praised the quarterback.

“It’s been huge for all of the pass catchers. Not just the receivers but the tight ends and running backs,” Cooks said. “The camp we had, how many practices we’ve been out there, we continued to show that trust and camaraderie, that chemistry every single day.”

It will be a running back by committee approach for the Texans against the Jaguars and throughout the season, as the group includes Mark Ingram, Phillip Lindsay, David Johnson and Rex Burkhead.

Culley, who had been the offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens last year, is expected to lean heavily on the run game. The Ravens ran the ball 55% of the time last year under his direction.

Ingram feels the unit has improved throughout the preseason, but knows they need to reach a different level if they want to be successful.

“We made good some strides in our run game, we almost ran for over 200 yards in our last preseason game,” Ingram said. “Obviously, we didn’t keep the ball moving like we wanted, we didn’t punch the ball in the end zone and we turned the ball over and those are things that can keep you from winning football games. Those are things you can improve on and the execution of every single play. We just have to continue to work on that heading into week 1.”

The Jaguars and this year’s No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence will be trying to start the season, but will be tested by what has been a strong Houston defense through the preseason.

The Texans forced 10 turnovers in their three preseason games, with 5 interceptions and five fumbles recovered, both tied for the best in the league over this year’s preseason.

A big part of that has come from the work of the defensive line according to Culley, he likes what he has seen out of the group throughout training camp and feels confident not just in the starters, but also the backups and their ability to be difference makers.

“The consistent play of our up front people has been great for us,” Culley said. “It’s been that way because of the competition. We feel like we have six or seven guys up there that can play for us and we are going to use all of them. You have to do that over the course of a 17 game season and we are fortunate enough to have the depth to do that.”

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