HOUSTON (AP) — After yet another loss, the Houston Texans are trying to figure out how to correct their mistakes and deal with several more injuries after already losing stars J.J. Watt and Deshaun Watson for the season.
Houston’s 24-13 defeat at Tennessee on Sunday was its fifth loss in six games to drop the team to 4-8.
Already decimated by injuries, the Texans sustained several more against the Titans, leaving them thin at several positions heading into Sunday’s game against the 49ers.
Tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz, receiver Braxton Miller and running back Alfred Blue all suffered concussions against the Titans. Also injured were Bruce Ellington (hamstring) and cornerback Johnathan Joseph (shoulder).
“For me, calling plays and being a head coach, that game was a first for me where we lost that many players to injury during the game,” coach Bill O’Brien said.
O’Brien didn’t have an update on the status of any of those injured players on Monday, but Houston lost another player for the season when linebacker Brennan Scarlett was placed on injured reserve with a foot injury he sustained last week against the Ravens.
Scarlett had been playing in place of Whitney Mercilus, who tore his pectoral muscle on Oct. 8 in the same game where Watt broke his leg.
Now the Texans will likely have to start Gimel President at the position. President was signed as an undrafted free agent and has spent most of this season on the practice squad.
Despite the mounting injuries and the team’s poor record, O’Brien isn’t planning to use the remaining games to look to the future or evaluate younger players.
“The big thing is winning,” he said. “I think within winning you may, within the goal of winning, you may be able to do certain things, but at the end of the day, if it doesn’t point toward winning, you’re not doing it.”
On top of the injuries on Sunday, the Texans struggled with several uncharacteristic miscues. Jeff Allen, who had been the team’s right guard for most of the season, moved to left tackle against the Titans, and committed three straight false start penalties in the fourth quarter.
He’s the fourth player the Texans have used at the position this season after Duane Brown held out for several games before being traded to the Seahawks after just one game back.
Kendall Lamm started the season at the position but was benched for Chris Clark, but Clark was placed on injured reserve last week forcing the Texans to move Allen.
O’Brien doesn’t envision making another change this week despite Allen’s tough outing on Sunday.
“I think that we’ll see where we are relative to injuries and all those things, but yeah. I could see him being our left tackle again,” he said.
Another problem the Texans had on Sunday was on special teams where kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn missed two field goals after missing just two all season entering the game. He missed from 48 and 23 yards in the loss, raising questions about what went wrong.
O’Brien didn’t seem that worried about his difficult day and expressed confidence in his kicker.
“A lot of times it’s the plant foot, it’s maybe a little concern about the rush, the short-side rush, whatever it is,” O’Brien said. “He’s a good kicker. I have a lot of faith in him. He had a bad day, but he’ll be all right.”