There's little doubt that head coach Dom Capers' future in Houston will be determined over the next few games. After winning a franchise-high seven games in 2004, the Texans are 1-8 in their fourth season in the NFL. Quarterback David Carr is hoping the team can put together a string of victories to keep their head coach leading the team into 2006.
"We have to win some games for him to help him out," Carr said this week. "He's a guy you want to play for. A guy you want to win for."
Defensive end Robaire Smith echoed those thoughts.
"Capers is a stand-up guy, " he said. "The players are for him. When a team doesn't play well, it always reflects poorly on the coaching, but they're not the ones on the field doing the playing. We are. It's on us."
Running back Domanick Davis is expected to be back in the lineup, which will certainly give the Texans some help offensively against the Chiefs on Sunday. But cornerback Demarcus Faggins will miss his third consecutive game with a pulled hamstring. Phillip Buchanon will get the start in his place on defense.
The big news out of Jacksonville is that wide receiver Jimmy Smith has been demoted. But he's accepting his new role with class. He'll be rotating into the lineup with three younger wide receivers -- Ernest Wilford, Matt Jones and Reggie Williams
"As long as we're winning, everybody is happy and I'm happy. I'm tired of losing. That wasn't any fun no matter how many balls you catch," he said. "And the end of the day, that's not a good feeling when you lose a ballgame."
Smith was also quick to separate himself from another famous veteran wide receiver with an additional comment.
"I ain't T.O. (Terrell Owens). I'm not going to talk about it."
Smith is scheduled to make $3.25 million next season, so with his role being reduced to part-time, he'll likely have to decide if he's willing to play for less next season or pack his bags and look for a new team.
The Jaguars take on the Titans this weekend, but will likely do so without veteran running back Fred Taylor. He continues to be hampered by an ankle injury that forced him to miss last weekend's game against the Ravens. On the other side of the ball, defensive tackle Marcus Stroud missed Wednesday and Thursday's practices but expects to play on Sunday.
The Titans offensive line has been a focal point of their offensive struggles this season due to their inconsistent play. And they will likely be challenged this weekend by a fairly formidable Jaguars defensive line. Tennessee head coach Jeff Fisher was candid in expressing his concern regarding this area of his team's matchup.
"They don't leave you a lot of time to stand back there and hold it," he said. "They do a great job collapsing the pocket. They have a number of turnovers. I think they are second in the league in interceptions right now with 14.
"The combination of speed in the secondary and discipline in the secondary and pass rush doesn't leave you a lot of time to throw, nor are there many places to go with it. I know their rushing statistics are a little misleading. They are a much better team against the run than their stats indicate."
The Titans will get some help offensively this week though as both Drew Bennett (hand) and Brandon Jones (knee) should be ready for action. The two wide receivers looked good catching passes this week. That was particularly astonishing for Bennett who had pins removed from his dislocated left thumb on Nov. 4. He'll wear a brace to protect the thumb during game action.