In the time Bill O’Brien has been the Texans head coach, turnovers, whether forcing them or avoiding them has been a point of emphasis.
The first two years, the results were good. 2016? Not so much.
The Texans rank 29th in the NFL in turnovers differential having turned it over 13 times while only forcing 7 during the first 8 games.
“It’s not very good,” O’Brien said as his team prepares to kick off the second half against Jacksonville on Sunday. “In the past couple years that we’ve been here, we’ve been able to turn that around. We need to try to turn that around because that stat right there points right towards the won-loss record.”
So, how do you fix it?
“Sometimes turnovers come and takeaways come in bunches. You just get hot like we did two years ago,” O’Brien said. “I think we were almost the best in the league. I think we were up in the top three. Last year we turned it around the second half of the season. I do think you can practice it.”
The defense knows it’s all about effort.
“We have a resilient group, a resilient locker room,” linebacker Whitney Mercilus said. “Guys who just love this game and are going to let it loose and go out there and play ball, do the best that they can.”
But for that turnover differential number to improve, the offense has to stop giving it away. Brock Osweiler has been intercepted 9 times, several of them coming inside the red zone.
While the quarterback takes the blame, it’s not all on his shoulders.
“Surely there’s been times when Brock could have made a better decision, but there’s also times where we could run a better route, we could protect better, somebody hit him, the ball was coming out, you know, things like that,” O’Brien said. “We’ve worked very hard the past two days and with the players.”
Osweiler’s take is a little different.
“It’s something that obviously I don’t want to have take place, but sometimes those mistake happen,” Osweiler said. “I think at the point in time it’s all about realizing you can’t go back on that mistake, you can’t fix it right there in the present time, so let it go and play the next play. Then, come Monday, step into the film room, dissect the play and learn from it so you don’t make that mistake twice.”
The Texans and Jaguars will face each other for the first time in 2016.