Behind Enemy Lines: Texans at AZ, Part I

The Arizona Cardinals host the 2-2 Houston Texans in Week 5. The two teams have met just once before in the regular season. BattleRedNation.com's Editor-in-Chief stops by to answer questions about Antonio Smith's transition, whether Matt Schaub is on course to become an elite quarterback in the league, how the Texans plan to defend against the Cardinals receiving corps and more in this exclusive.

Amberly Dressler: The Texans nabbed former Cardinals defensive end Antonio Smith in last year's free agency market. Through four games he's compiled 10 tackles and no sacks. What doesn't the box score show about Smith's transition to Houston?

Charlie Bernstein: To be perfectly honest, the box score is showing about how well Smith has been playing in Houston. Antonio Smith is having trouble transitioning back into the 4-3 defense and he hasn't been able to get much of a pass rush, although he played well against the Raiders anemic offense. Thus far, Smith hasn't been what the Texans expected when they granted him his rich free agent deal.

AD: The Texans arrive in the desert at .500. What areas need to be addressed in order for the Texans to turn this season into a winning one?


Antonio Smith
(Getty)

CB: Aside from the opener against the Jets, offense hasn't been much of an issue for the Texans, as they can score points. The defense, however has been a nightmare. Aside from the mess which is the Oakland Raiders offense, the Texans haven't been able to stop anyone on the ground, and their secondary is still a mess. They need to somehow get the defensive side of the ball to play up to their talent level, or they're headed to another mediocre year.

AD: Tell us about some players on Houston's roster, who are seemingly unknown, that have stepped up so far this season?

CB: Houston hasn't had a lot of positive surprises, and that's why they're at 2-2. Wide receiver Kevin Walter has done a nice job since coming back from injury, and Jacoby Jones seems to be emerging as a big time return threat and viable option at wide receiver.

AD: Matt Schaub seems to be doing a great job this season. He sits in the top-10 of many passing statistics and beats out Kurt Warner in yards, completions and touchdowns. But Schaub already has eight sacks, are those takedowns on the offensive line's shoulders or should Schaub be doing something different? Will Schaub ever be mentioned in the same conversation as some of this league's greats?


Larry Fitzgerald
(Getty)

CB: Schaub is having a solid year, and ability hasn't been as much of an issue as durability with Schaub. He does tend to hold on to the ball and that keeps him getting hit, and eventually will get him hurt again. Matt Schaub will never be on that top tier of quarterbacks, as he doesn't have the rifle arm and special quality such as Brady, Manning, Brees, and Warner, but he can be a second-tiered guy who you can win with.

AD: Although the Cardinals offense hasn't been as potent as usual, the Texans have to be concerned with Larry Fitzgerald & Co. What do you think the Texans game plan is for stopping the Cardinals dangerous receivers unit?

CB: The Texans are still hoping to manufacture somewhat of a pass rush, and that will try and hide their underachieving secondary a bit. If they can't get a rush going, Warner and company will pick them apart all afternoon.


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