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linchao May 21 '19
A season so promising just a few short weeks ago is on the verge of falling apart for the Houston Texans.One of only three winless teams in the NFL Ryan Kelly Jersey 2019 , the Texans are desperate to get a victory on Sunday against the Colts and try to salvage their season."We have to win this game," safety Tyrann Mathieu said. "We just have to win."After going 4-12 last season, the Texans had high expectations entering this year with the return of stars J.J. Watt and Deshaun Watson, who both missed big chunks of last season with injuries.Instead three straight close losses have the Texans searching for ways to escape the NFL's basement."These are close games and it's the team that doesn't beat themselves that ends up winning, and we've been beating ourselves too much," coach Bill O'Brien said.It is Houston's worst start since opening the 2008 season 0-4. If you add the six games they lost to end the 2017 season, the Texans have lost nine straight. It has been more than 10 months since they won a game with their last victory coming against the Arizona Cardinals on Nov. 19.Watt said the importance of ending the skid this week can't be overstated."We have to," he said. "We don't have one. Haven't had one in a long time so we really need to get a win. It's very tough opponent, a very tough place to play so we have to go on the road and put our best foot forward."The Colts aren't doing much better than Houston this season and enter the game 1-2. But the Texans haven't had much success against Indianapolis and have a 7-25 record in 32 meetings. They've had even more trouble in Indianapolis where they've won just twice in 16 visits.Despite their struggles, O'Brien isn't worried about the psyche of his team and knows that getting a win against an AFC South opponent will go a long way toward getting things on the right track."We've only played one divisional game," he said. "We've got a big one this week. So, we just have to keep grinding. There's no other way out of it. There's no choice. I think when you have the role that I have, it's easy. There's no choice. You have to go to work and you have to figure it out."For Watson White T.J. Green Jersey , trying to end a skid is a new experience. Watson, who helped Clemson to a national title in the 2016 season, lost just two games combined in his last two seasons in college. He said this stretch has already taught him some lessons."Just dealing with adversity," he said. "Try to take the good with the bad and really dig down each and every week to find out what the problem is."The problem, according to Watson and O'Brien is not paying attention to details. The Texans rank eighth in the NFL by averaging 396.3 yards a game, but are tied for 22nd in scoring with just 19.7 points a game in part because of an excessive amount of penalties and negative plays in the red zone.Houston's three losses have been by a combined 15 points, giving the Texans hope that if they tighten a few things up they'll be able to get over the hump and into the win column this week."We're not that far off," Mathieu said. "We just have to do better at preparing, building up throughout the week and then on gameday, starting fast and then finishing strong. So, if we can do those things and if our five-star players could play like five-star players, then we'll be good." INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard reverted to his old free-agent playbook.He re-signed his own players first.Instead of making a big first-day splash, he barely made a ripple on the second day. And he’s probably not finished yet.As the first big wave of free-agency signings were announced Wednesday T.J. Green Jersey 2019 , Ballard made two under-the-radar moves — re-signing backup cornerback Chris Milton a one-year deal and bringing back starting cornerback Pierre Desir with a three-year deal — before signing former Carolina receiver Devin Funchess to a one-year deal Thursday.It’s all part of the grand plan.“We have a very strict criterion of what we want to bring in,” Ballard said recently. “We want players that want to get better, want to be great, want to be a part of the team, that are willing to sacrifice sometimes their individual stats for the betterment of winning and being a good teammate. If they fit into that criterion, absolutely they’ll fit in.”After taking some risks last season, Ballard is betting on Funchess, Carolina’s second-round pick in 2015. At 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, he gives Andrew Luck a bigger receiver than he’s worked with in the past.And if Funchess replicates what he did in 2017, when he caught 63 passes for 840 yards and eight touchdowns, he could emerge as the perfect complement to three Pro Bowl pass-catchers already on the roster: receiver T.Y. Hilton and tight ends Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle.Last year, though White Le'Raven Clark Jersey , Funchess regressed. He had 44 receptions for 549 yards and four TDs and reinforced his reputation for drops. So Ballard reportedly gave Funchess a $10 million deal that could go up to as much as $13 million.“I think the Colts are a great fit and I think they’re ready to take that next step,” Funchess said Thursday during a conference call. “I think if we win the Super Bowl, everything will take care of itself.”Ballard has made this journey before.A year ago, he gambled on Ebron, the Detroit Lions’ underachieving first-round pick from 2014. Ebron wound up catching more touchdown passes in 2018 than any tight end in the league and made his first Pro Bowl appearance.Every move doesn’t pay off, though. Ballard also signed Ryan Grant, the Washington Redskins’ 2014 fifth-round pick, last year. Indy expected Grant would emerge as the No. 2 receiver. Instead, Grant’s playing time steadily dwindled.Now, Ballard is at it again, this time with Funchess, Carolina’s second-round pick in 2015 — though it’s not a terribly risky move.The Colts went into free agency with the most cap space in the league and if Funchess doesn’t work out, the Colts could let him walk away next year and recoup all of their cap room — just like they did with Grant.But the Colts’ more important moves might have come before free agency opened Wednesday.Kicker Adam Vinatieri Le'Raven Clark Jersey 2019 , the league’s career scoring leader, signed a one-year deal worth $3.875 million in January. Right guard Mark Glowinski agreed to a three-year, $16.2 million deal in February — a move that keeps Indy’s offensive line intact after allowing a league-low 18 sacks in 2018.Last week, versatile defensive tackle Margus Hunt decided to stay in Indy after the best season of his career. His two-year deal is worth $9 million. On Wednesday, Ballard brought back Desir back for three years at $25 million and Milton, a key backup and special teams player. Desir recorded 79 tackles in 12 starts last season.And Ballard has said he would like to keep oft-injured Clayton Geathers — if he can.“We are going to make some tweaks to our program internally, but our mission will never change,” Ballard said. “Everything we do matters. Our building understands that.”
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