Are Texans pressing too hard for a win?

Are Texans pressing too hard for a win?
December 4, 2013, 10:45 am
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Whitney Mercilus was the 26th overall pick in the 2012 draft.

(USA Today Images)

How did the Jaguars start winning this season? They stopped trying to win.

OK, maybe they didn’t stop trying but they at least stopped putting all their focus and effort into getting a win. Instead, they tried to play better. And it worked.

“I think we tried to keep the focus, I know this is unique, away from winning,” Jaguars first-year head coach Gus Bradley said in a conference call with Houston reporters on Tuesday. “We really just tried to challenge our guys on getting better. But not to be naïve, without a doubt, when you have some victories that go along with it, that validates it. And I think the players feed off of that. The challenge for me, as a coach, is just to stay true to our convictions and what we’re all about, and keep them in that mindset so that we continually get better.”

The Jaguars have won three of their last four games and are one of the hotter teams in the league after starting the year with eight straight losses.

Meanwhile, the Texans won their first two games and haven’t won since, rattling off a franchise-record 10 losses in a row. And with every loss, the pressure to end the losing streak continues to mount.

Could the Texans learn something from the Jaguars? Is there too much pressure on the Texans to get a win instead of just playing their best football?

“It could be. I can’t say for sure,” said linebacker Whitney Mercilus, who admitted to pressing too much earlier this season. “We’re doing all that we can. We’re out there at practice trying to get every play perfect. Whether we mess up, we do plays over again. We beat each other up. Shoot, we’ve kept our bodies fresh some weeks. There’s no answer.”

Rookie D.J. Swearinger said he’s seen some players on the team try to make extra plays but says everyone has played within the system and those attempts to make big game-changing plays haven’t hurt the team.

Linebacker Brooks Reed said he didn’t think there was too much emphasis on winning. He just thinks playing better football and winning go hand in hand.

“If anything, I think it’s kept us going, it’s kept us driving to, does it mean your mean you’re pressing at sometimes? I don’t know,” head coach Gary Kubiak said. “I think it’s human that you do when you get in some of those situations. But we need to press a little bit. We need to stay on the grind and find a way to get it done. I think they’ve done that. I think they’ve worked extremely hard, but we’ve just got to make the plays.”