2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Houston aims to be NFL's top defense

    2012-11-14 17:49

(Eds: Adds details; quotes. With AP Photos.)
By KRISTIE RIEKEN
AP Sports Writer

HOUSTON (AP) - Just before the season, Houston defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was asked what he wanted from his defense in 2012 after the unit made a remarkable turnaround to finish second in the NFL in yards allowed last season.

Phillips didn't say a word. He simply raised one index finger.

The Texans haven't reached that mark yet, and they remain No. 2. That, they say, gives them something to work toward.

``We're working extremely hard to make that happen,'' defensive end J.J. Watt said. ``We attack every day with that intensity and that mentality.''

That was clear in Sunday night's 13-6 win over Chicago when Houston forced four turnovers.

The Texans are allowing 281.6 yards a game, behind only Pittsburgh. They are also among the top teams in several other defensive categories. Houston is third in scoring (15.9), tied for fourth in interceptions (11) and have allowed the third fewest touchdowns (15).

Houston has rebounded from its only loss - a 42-24 defeat by Green Bay - with three straight dominant defensive outings. They've allowed just one touchdown since the loss.

``It's important that we play well every week,'' nose tackle Shaun Cody said. ``We know we want to put our offense in a good position to get the ball a lot, and it's going to lead to some good things.''

Watt has emerged as one of the top defenders in the league. He leads the NFL in sacks with 10 1/2 and has knocked down 10 passes. The constant attention he receives has given other Texans chances to make plays. Outside linebacker Connor Barwin has come on lately, piling up 13 tackles and two sacks in the last three games.

The Texans have come a long, long way from the days when there were concerns about Phillips changing the alignment, and then in the offseason, Mario Williams and DeMeco Ryans left for other teams. More questions came when star linebacker Brian Cushing was lost for the season with a knee injury in Week 5 and the loss to the Packers came the next week.

The defense has been great since then, and Barwin said they are driven by the thought of becoming the best in the league.

``That's something that we've all thought about all year long,'' Barwin said. ``We pay attention to where we're at. At the end of the year is what matters. So hopefully at the end of the year we'll be No. 1.''

Houston's secondary has been helped by the solid play up front. Phillips inherited a pass defense that allowed an NFL-worst 267.5 yards passing per game in 2010. Last year, the group gave up the third fewest at just 189.7 yards a game.

They're currently in third again by allowing 196 yards passing a game.

Cornerback Johnathan Joseph, who along with Phillips sparked the transformation of the secondary last season, is focused on being the best defense. But he noted that the statistics aren't the top priority.

``We always want to be known as the best defense and the best team,'' he said. ``But in our minds it's all about helping the team win games by playing dominate defense and being the top defense. What's most important is winning ball games.''

The Texans have done a lot of that this season. They're off to the best start in franchise history and tied for the NFL's best record at 8-1. Joseph has been impressed that they've been able to remain one of the top defenses for a second straight season.

``Going out and doing it every week (is) probably the hardest part about having a great defense,'' he said. ``You see teams like Pittsburgh and Baltimore that did it for five, 10 years-plus. To go out and do it this last year and this year and keep up the same style of defense is something that you can build on and look toward the future.''

Houston plays Jacksonville on Sunday in a rematch of a Week 2 win by the Texans. Houston's defense starred in that 27-7 victory by allowing Jacksonville to gain just nine first downs and 117 yards.

The Texans are guarding against a letdown this week against the Jaguars (1-8).

``There's always room for improvement, but right now it's just about going out and being better than we were the week before,'' Joseph said.

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Dennis PittaApr 20 06:52p

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) is participating in the team's voluntary conditioning program that started Monday, April 20. Pitta's career remains in doubt after fracturing his right hip [ More ]

Prince AmukamaraApr 20 05:22p

New York Giants CB Prince Amukamara (biceps) said he's about 90% recovered from a torn biceps he suffered last season.

Adrian WilsonApr 20 05:02p

Updating a previous item, free-agent SS Adrian Wilson (Bears) signed a contract to officially retire with the Arizona Cardinals.

Tim TebowApr 20 03:52p

Free-agent QB Tim Tebow (Patriots) officially signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles Monday, April 20. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Adrian PetersonApr 20 01:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is not in attendance for the start of the team's offseason workout program Monday, April 20, according to league sources. However, Peterson hasn't attended [ More ]

Antonio BrownApr 20 11:02a

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown is seeking a new contract and could hold out from minicamps and training camp, according to sources.

Adrian WilsonApr 20 07:22a

Free-agent SS Adrian Wilson (Bears) is expected to retire Monday, April 20, and join the Arizona Cardinals coaching staff. The Cardinals, the team Wilson played for from 2001-2012, have announced a press conference.

Tim TebowApr 19 07:42p

Free-agent QB Tim Tebow (Patriots) is expected to sign a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles Monday, April 20.

Stefen WisniewskiApr 18 01:02p

Free-agent C Stefen Wisniewski (Raiders) signed a one-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars Saturday, April 18. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Ryan JensenApr 17 05:02p

Baltimore Ravens exclusive rights free-agent TE Phillip Supernaw, SS Brynden Trawick, CB Rashaan Melvin and OT Ryan Jensen re-signed with the team Friday, April 17. Terms of the contracts were not disclosed.

Adrian PetersonApr 17 12:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson said earlier this week that he's not sure if he'll participate in the team's offseason program. Minnesota is set to start their offseason workouts [ More ]

Adrian PetersonApr 16 03:02p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson will not receive any further suspension after he is reinstated from the commissioner's exempt list, according to a source.

Adrian PetersonApr 16 02:22p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has been informed that he will be reinstated from the commissioner exempt list starting Friday, April 17.

Sammy WatkinsApr 15 11:33p

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins (hip) is able to work out in some capacity during the team's offseason program, although head coach Rex Ryan indicated Wednesday, April 15, that [ More ]

Kai ForbathApr 15 10:53p

Washington Redskins restricted free-agent PK Kai Forbath posted on social media Wednesday, April 15, that he has re-signed with the team. The club has not yet confirmed the signing.

George JohnsonApr 15 08:33a

Detroit Lions DE George Johnson was acquired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wednesday, April 15. Tampa signed Johnson to an offer sheet that was disputed by Detroit, but the [ More ]

Philip RiversApr 15 12:13a

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers is under contract for one more season, and he has expressed a desire to play out his deal. However, the Chargers might be [ More ]

Josh GordyApr 14 06:03p

Free-agent CB Josh Gordy (Colts) signed a veteran minimum deal with the New York Giants Tuesday, April 14, according to a source.

Ricardo LocketteApr 14 05:23p

Seattle Seahawks WR Ricardo Lockette signed his exclusive-rights tender Tuesday, April 14.

Ike TaylorApr 14 09:32a

Free-agent CB Ike Taylor (Steelers) announced his retirement Tuesday, April 14.

Wade SmithApr 14 02:12a

Free-agent OG Wade Smith (Eagles) announced his retirement after 12 years in the National Football League.

Michael CrabtreeApr 14 01:13a

The Oakland Raiders are giving free-agent WR Michael Crabtree (49ers) a one-year, $3 million deal with another $2 million in incentives, a source said Monday, April 13.

Eben BrittonApr 14 01:03a

Free-agent OT Eben Britton (Bears) has been suspended four games by the NFL for an unspecified violation.

Matt ForteApr 13 08:02p

Chicago Bears RB Matt Forte was not present for the start of the offseason workouts Monday, April 13, according to sources. Forte is entering the final year of his [ More ]

Cody LatimerApr 13 08:02p

Denver Broncos WR Cody Latimer, who is expected to line up across from WR Demaryius Thomas in 2015, has been praised by WR Emmanuel Sanders, who figures to move [ More ]

Joe MaysApr 13 04:32p

Free-agent LB Joe Mays (Chiefs) signed an undisclosed deal with the New York Jets Monday, April 13.

Zackary BowmanApr 13 02:22p

Free-agent CB Zack Bowman (Giants) signed an undisclosed deal with the Miami Dolphins Monday, April 13.

Sean RichardsonApr 13 02:02p

Green Bay Packers restricted free-agent SS Sean Richardson will remain with the Packers after the team decided to match the one-year, $2.55 million offer he signed with the Oakland Raiders, according to a source.

Sean RichardsonApr 12 10:02a

Green Bay Packers restricted free-agent SS Sean Richardson signed an offer sheet with the Oakland Raiders, and the Packers have until Monday, April 13, to inform him if they [ More ]

Jason CampbellApr 12 07:02a

Free-agent QB Jason Campbell (Bengals) is considering retirement, according to sources close to the team. Campbell has rejected multiple opportunities to sign a contract for 2015, including offers from [ More ]

James CaseyApr 11 01:02p

Free-agent TE James Casey (Eagles) agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Denver Broncos Saturday, April 11. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Johnny ManzielApr 11 12:22p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel has been released from his rehab facility.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group