This week has been a little different for the surging Texans.
Riding a four-game winning streak and with the Miami Dolphins coming to town for a Thursday night game, the focus Houston and head coach Bill O’Brien isles on breaking a sweat in practice and more on mentality and rehab.
“We’ve got a bunch of guys that understand what they have to do to get ready on a short week,” O’Brien said. “(Texans owner) Bob McNair has put a lot of money into our facility here in the offseason and these are the kinds of weeks where this pays off.”
O’Brien said his normal rotation in preparing for the season helped and as the Jacksonville game grew closer last Sunday, he started to get ready for the Miami game so the players wouldn’t miss a beat.
The Texans’ defense continued to shine as Tyrann Mathieu had an interception in the 20-7win against the Jaguars. After taking a bus from Houston to Jacksonville, Deshaun Watson threw for 139 yards and a touchdown while Lamar Miller rushed for 100 yards and a score.
“It’s always great to be able to come home and try to continue our winning streak,” Watson said. “Even though we started off 0-3, the message never changed. The ball started bouncing our way and we started clicking and we’ve got to continue that.”
Watson, who has been battling rib and lung injuries for the last few weeks, said he felt good during the game in Florida and even with the short week before taking on the Dolphins, he’ll be good to go Thursday.
A Houston win combined with a loss by the Tennessee Titans means the Texans are alone atop the AFC South standings, a surprising feat after starting the season with straight losses.
The progression has been evident after back-to-back overtime wins against the Indianapolis Colts and Dallas Cowboys, the Texans beat the Buffalo Bills and Jaguars by a combined 26 points.
“Nobody wants to be 0-3, but we were,” O’Brien said. “I can’t emphasize enough that it’s all about the players. If you don’t have the right players, we wouldn’t be close to where we are now. I’m a big believer in the character and the chemistry and that’s what it’s all about.”
They’ll welcome a familiar face back to NRG stadium with Brock Osweiler expected to get the start for Miami.
Houston gave the quarterback a $72 million deal in 2016 with $37 million guaranteed, but got some financial relief when they traded him to the Cleveland Browns along with some draft picks after just one season with the team.
In two starts with the Dolphins this season, he has 619 yards, five touchdowns and one win.
O’Brien said he doesn’t think there is any advantage to going up against a former player like Osweiler because there are enough veteran players in the Texans’ locker room that will help the team keep their eyes on the prize.
“I think we have a lot of guys in the locker room that are battling to get ready to play,” O’Brien said. “Whether it’s J.J. Watt or Jonathan Joseph and what he has to do to get ready for games, these guys really root for each other and it’s a really good locker room. I think they inspire each other.”
Houston travels to face the Denver Broncos in Week 9 on Nov. 4 and has its bye week during Week 10. The Texans travel to face Washington on Nov. 18 before three-straight games at NRG Stadium.
“We’re only through seven games, so the key is where you go from here,” O’Brien said.