Here are the questions we sent to Jake at Battle Red Blog with his answers:
1. On a scale of 1-10, how much panic do you feel after the loss to the Jets?
Probably about a 3, although I may not be a good representation of our readers. There was enough negativity around the site Monday and Tuesday that I felt inclined to write a post entitled "Before You Jump" in an effort to calm everyone down. Jeff Fischer has down a good job of keeping the Titans organization relatively stable, so it might be hard for you to put yourself in the shoes of an average Texans fan that has been waiting 8 years for a winning season. Due to this history, we're a little more prone to pessimism.
In my opinion though, even good teams have bad games. The Texans have never done well with good 3-4 defenses and I am convinced that the Jets have the best defense we will see all year of that variety. Am I rationalizing? Absolutely. Hopefully last week was a little more about the Jets being good than it was about us being bad, although there is no denying that there were elements of both at play in that game. Now if we lose to the Titans in as much of a lopsided fashion, it's going to be hard to keep the mob at bay.
2. There is a lot of hype surrounding the Texans this season. Do you think they have improved enough to get over the hump?
I did, but I'm second guessing myself a little. That might be a knee jerk to just one loss on my part, but it wasn't just that we lost, its how we lost. The Texans are supposed to be to the point that win or lose, they can play with anyone. We can't be comfortable any more with blowout losses when it might have been expected before. Since Gary Kubiak took over the team it has been much better but it has also started slow every year. If the Texans want to be a playoff team, they don't have that luxury.
One of the biggest improvements for the Texans has been defense. I know that seems silly considering the result of week one and many of my readers would disagree with me, but our defense kept us close with New York for three grueling quarters of a game that featured a 39/21 time of possession split. The weakness of the defense was the secondary, which was exploited by a rookie quarterback on more third downs than I care to admit. The run defense did look significantly better though.
This week is a true "hump" game for us. If we ever want to be taken seriously, we have to win within our division, something that has not come easy in past years. No one outside of Houston expects the Texans to win in Tennessee, and honestly many people in Houston probably don't believe either after last week. I wouldn't go as far to say that this is a must win for the Texans this week, but it is very close considering what an uphill battle we would have for the following 14 games.
3. What match-up do you think is the most important for the Texans to win in this game?
Brian Cushing vs. Chris Johnson. Johnson makes a living off getting a defense to over-pursue and then cutting back to the other side of the field and turning on the jets for long gains. It makes me nervous that one of the players that we need to stay disciplined to keep this from happening is a rookie, but Cushing looked good last week. All of our linebackers need to play well against Tennessee's stout run offense, but if I was a Titans coach my game plan would be to test Cushing early and often.
4. Is Gary Kubiak on the hot seat?
Not yet. Bob McNair has a good relationship with both Gary Kubiak and general manager Rick Smith. The only way that either of them loses their job this year is if the team completely implodes. Even another .500 season, as painful as that would be, wouldn't cost Kubiak his job in my estimation. I think it would take 10 losses before it was even a consideration.
5. Predict the headline in Monday's Tennessean.
I think the headline will center on the theme of surprise. I'm not confident enough to say that the Texans will win the game on the road, but I think it will be a lot closer than most people are expecting. If I were a betting man, I would definitely pick the Texans considering that Tennessee is favored by almost a TD (6 ½). Since Kubiak took over the team, 3 of the 6 Texans/Titans contests have been decided by less than 7 points, including the last game which was won by only one point.
Click here to for the questions Jake sent August with his answers.