The Houston Texans received a much needed boost from a group of players returning to the practice field this week.
Another positive sight was the return of John Simon (chest) who has been out for close to a month. While not competly healed, Simon is at the point he can play but there will be some pain tolerance he will have to endure during the game.
Right guard Jeff Allen is still in the concussion protocol and he did practice but he will still have to visit an independent neurologist in the coming days to clear him to the final stages of the protocol. Allen has suffered two concussions this season which is a cause for concern, requiring an even more of proactive plan of action.
Joseph gave an update after suffering broken ribs and bruised lung two weeks ago. “Me personally, I’m just trying to get better each and every day and just get back out there on the field and help my teammates. I went out today and practiced and did a lot more than I did last week, so I think I’m trending in the right direction.”
Lamar Miller missed practice due to an ankle injury he suffered in the final minutes of the Texans win over Jacksonville.
Ed Block Courage Award
Duane Brown was selected as the Texans 2016 recipient of the Ed Block Courage award by his teammates. Brown made a comeback from a torn quad which he suffered in week 17 of the 2015 season to make a difference for the offensive line in 2016.
“The award recognizes extra efforts both on and off the field and for their ability to overcome adversity and Duane is one of the unquestioned leaders of this team,” said Bill O’Brien of Brown.
Brown was excited about being voted by his teammates for this prestigious award.
“It means a lot. Knowing the history behind the Ed Block Award and everything that he stands for and the things he’s done in the community for children, it means a lot,” Brown stated shortly after receiving the honor. “I’m very thankful for my teammates voting me for this award. It’s been a long year working back from the injury that I had and I’m grateful to be at this point, so thankful for my teammates for the vote and I’m very appreciative.”
Kareem Jackson was happy for his long time teammate and friend to receiver the honor.
“That was great. For him to come back off of the injury that he had, to have the type of year that he did. Not a lot of guys can do that.” explained Jackson. “Duane definitely battled back from that. He had a tremendous year. Definitely one of the team leaders. One of the hearts and soul of the offense. I’m excited to see him come back the way he did.”
Johnathan Joseph echoed the same sentiment of Brown.
“That’s a big honor for Duane Brown. He’s definitely earned that award coming back from the type of injury he had last year and to bounce back and play at a very high level,” said Joseph.
Tom Savage's Work Behind the Scenes
When Tom Savage hit the injured reserve in 2015, he took time to stay around the facility, attending meetings and traveling to out of town games so he could stay involved. Savage remained engaged with the game plan, film, and other means of learning both opponents and the Texans offense.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/texans/story/1739819-tom-savage-knows-what-his-... “Well, you know, he took the step from rookie year to being a professional. I thought when you’re sitting there and you really can’t play the upcoming game because of an injury, you take two roads and one is a proactive approach and that’s the approach that he took,” Godsey explained. “Took a lot of notes as if he was preparing for the game. Certainly that’s in the past, but it definitely helped him as far as his development as a professional.”
Bill O’Brien noticed the work Savage put in also, which mainly had to be done on Savage’s own due to his status on the injured reserve. Savage could not workout out with the team because of the NFL injured reserve rules but that did not stop him from hitting the field on his own after team practices to work on his craft.
“He prepped every week like he was really a part of the game plan, like he was going to play even though he was on injured reserve,” O’Brien said. “When he was able to get back to throwing, he did a lot of those things on his own, worked on footwork.”
Savage looked back at that time and talked about offensive assistant Pat O’Hara taking time out for him and coaching him up when it was needed. O’Hara has taken Savage under his wing and worked hard one-on-one with him to make sure he was ready at the drop of a dime. That time has come and Savage owes plenty to the work O’Hara has done with him over the past two seasons.
"Pat, I mean, shoot, I owe him my whole career, to be honest with you. He’s been there, he’s quizzed me every day, even last year,” Savage explained. “Obviously not being able to take any reps, he’s always quizzing me and asking me stuff.”
“This year, even during stretches, he comes up, reads me the call sheet and when the first team is doing the walkthrough after that, Pat and I, we do a personal little walkthrough and go over the looks and stuff just because obviously you can’t get the reps but you always have to be prepared. He’s done a heck of a job preparing me,” Savage concluded.
The preparation and work behind the scenes by Savage over the past two seasons is well documented and now, with the dust settled at the quarterback position, Savage’s opportunity is directly in front of him.
The Game Plan
The Houston Texans are essentially two wins away from an AFC South title. However, a win over the Cincinattie Bengals and a Tennessee Titans loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars could lead the Texans to another playoff birth. The Texans will know exactly what is in front of them before the kickoff at 7:30 pm on Saturday with the Titans and Jaguars playing the noon game the same day.
If the Titans win, the Texans have a chance to potentially rest some banged up players and put all of their focus into a week 17 matchup against them for the AFC South title.
Bill O'Brien has only one goal in mind, win every time the Texans take the field.
“I think that every time you take the field, you’re out there to win. I don’t think that – obviously, the scenario that you just talked about, we don’t even think about that," O’Brien said of the Titans potentially losing to the Jaguars. “We’re really just really focused on the Bengals. It’s a very short week and we’re just looking to the challenge of the Bengals. They’re a very challenging team. They do a lot of things well and it’s going to be a tough game, so I think anytime you lineup and play, you play to win.”
The sentiment inside the locker room is that the Texans want to finish the season 10-6 and get to double digit wins for the first time in O’Brien’s three-year tenure.
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