Safety making a difference for Texans

The Texans had their best defensive performance of the season after making a switch at safety.

Safety Eugene Wilson didn't join the Texans to simply watch. Yet there he was dressed in team sweats and inactive for four of the team's first six games.

After spending much of his first five seasons in the NFL as a starter for the New England Patriots, Wilson wasn't used to being a spectator. He tried to make it clear to the coaches on the practice field that he was ready for an opportunity to show he could play.

Last Tuesday, he even went so far as to visit coach Gary Kubiak in his office at Reliant Stadium.

"He said, ‘Coach, I can make some plays for you,'" Kubiak said.

The Texans coaches were already thinking the same thing. They were slating him to play a significant role against the Cincinnati Bengals at safety, and Kubiak told Wilson to be ready.

Wilson got his chance. He lined up with Nick Ferguson at safety, while Will Demps and Brandon Harrison focused primarily on special teams.

The two veteran safeties thrived in their starting jobs, helping lead the defense to its best performance of the season and earning themselves more playing time along the way.

"I've just been waiting for an opportunity to get out there, and (Sunday) I was able to get out there and help us get a win," said Wilson, who picked up his second interception of the season Sunday.

It was a big game for Wilson, who is moving past an offseason in which he left New England and signed a $1.8 million deal, with a reported $500,000 guaranteed, to play cornerback for Tampa Bay.

Phillip Buchanon won the Buccaneers' starting job, however, and an undrafted rookie cornerback, Elbert Mack, made the 53-man roster as well, making Wilson somewhat expendable.

Wilson was cut just days before the season started. The Texans wasted no time in signing him. With Wilson having the experience of 10 playoff games and three Super Bowls, the Texans knew he would be a valued addition to the secondary.

"He's rubbing off on our players," Kubiak said. "He's very smart. He's been in more big games than anybody we've had waltz in our locker room. He handles situations well. He's got a lot of confidence. He's cheating in situations where he recognizes a formation or a tendency. That's how he makes plays. It's taken some time for us to get comfortable with him, you know."

Despite not joining the team until after training camp and playing in just three games, Wilson has made an impact already. He has brought what he learned from the Patriots to the Texans secondary, and his teammates like it.

"I kept trying to figure out what the quarterback was looking at (Sunday), because he was always looking in the secondary, and I turned around and saw Eugene standing right behind me," cornerback Dunta Robinson said. "And so I thought, ‘Maybe I better move a little bit, too.' So we started moving around a little bit.

"Eugene causes a lot of confusion for quarterbacks because he's played the game for a long time. And he comes from the New England system where they move around a lot and they give quarterbacks a lot of different looks. He's brought that over here, and we're just trying to work with that on our secondary."


  • QB Matt Schaub has played the best football of his career over the past four games. He must leave the confines of Reliant Stadium, however. In two years, he has just one victory away from home.

  • RB Steve Slaton has 104 carries for 476 yards and five rushing touchdowns this season.

  • TE Owen Daniels remains one of Matt Schaub's favorite targets. He is second on the team with 32 catches for 395 yards and two touchdowns.

  • WR Andre Johnson leads the league with 56 receptions and 772 receiving yards. He has two touchdowns as well.

  • WR Kevin Walter found the end zone two more times last week, boosting his season total to five touchdowns.

  • LB DeMeco Ryans is still somewhat hampered by an ankle injury and a sore shoulder, but he remains a leader on the defense even though his tackles aren't as high as they have been in the past. He is second on the team with 47 tackles this season.

  • LB Zac Diles is racking up the tackles this season. He leads the team with 57 tackles.

  • DE Mario Williams has seven sacks this season. Three of those sacks have resulted in a forced fumble — two of which the Texans have recovered.

  • CB Dunta Robinson is still a little ways away from moving into the starting lineup, but he could move up in the next two weeks or so. Robinson played 39 plays in the last game, and the Texans were impressed with how well he handled the load. He is still working to get back in game shape though.

  • WR Andre' Davis has now missed one game after having surgery on his finger. He will likely miss two more.

  • PR Jacoby Jones has returned two punts for touchdowns this season. He is averaging 14.7 yards per punt, and is only one of two players in the league with two punt returns for touchdowns. The other player is Reggie Bush.

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