Notebook: What to expect from Texans' D; Delmas has 'chance' to play; reliability missed at tackle

Posted Nov 20, 2012

The Texans’ defense, which entered last Sunday's game ranked second in the league, allowed a season-high 458 yards and 37 points to an offense that ranks dead last.

Quarterback Chad Henne came off the Jaguars’ bench last week to throw for 354 yards and four touchdowns to nearly upset the one-loss Texans.

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford might have thought he was getting ready for Christmas and not Thanksgiving after watching the film from that game.

Receiver Calvin Johnson was probably just as happy to see Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon turn seven catches into 236 yards.

The Texans’ defense, which entered the game ranked second in the league, allowed a season-high 458 yards and 37 points to an offense that ranks dead last.

“I think that’s the NFL,” Texans head coach Gary Kubiak told Detroit reporters in a conference call Tuesday. “I mean obviously we didn’t play up to our standard but you’ve got to give Jacksonville a lot of credit. They made a ton of plays and a lot of times we were in position and they made the play and we didn’t.

“You just never know in this league week-to-week what kind of game you’re going to be in and we got caught in a shootout type of game with a lot of offense.”

The only statistic that really matters is that the Texans found a way to make a stop at the end of the game and found a way to win, but it's been a little bit of feast or famine for that unit this season.

Sunday’s game exposed some weaknesses in the Texans secondary, as did a six-touchdown performance by Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in a Week 6, 42-24, thumping by the Packers.

The Texans secondary is coming off it's worst performance of the year against the Jaguars and could be without starting cornerback Jonathan Joseph, who didn't practice again Tuesday with a hamstring injury.

The big question is which Texans defense will show up Thursday. Will it be the one that couldn’t stop the Jaguars or the one that held Chicago and Buffalo to a combined 15 points the previous two weeks?

Lions safety Louis Delmas returned to practice for the first time in over three weeks Tuesday after suffering a left knee injury in the second half of the Seahawks game Oct. 28.

It’s a short week for the Lions as they get ready to play on Thursday and Schwartz wasn’t prepared to say whether Delmas would return to the lineup this week or not.

“I don’t know yet to tell you the truth,” he said. “The track would be short-track this week so he has a chance.”

Schwartz said his playing with the fourth-year pro would be a big boost for the defense, though.

“There’s nothing like having the leader or your defense, a guy who is literally the heart and soul of our defense, and a guy that’s been experienced and played well in our defense,” he said.

The Lions are 2-1 in games Delmas has played in this year.

Given the importance of Thursday's game and what it might mean for the rest of the Lions season, it would be surprising if Delmas wasn't on the field.

Left tackle Jeff Backus’ iron-man streak of 186 consecutive starts could come to an end this week because of a hamstring injury.

That has put Schwartz is in a position none of the last five head coaches have been in over the last 12 years. He has to worry about the left tackle position heading into a game.

“Just having that consistency as a coach when you’re game planning,” Schwartz said. “We were literally, before I came over here (for press session), we were talking about some of injury situations and what’s it look like, who’s going to be able to be active and stuff like that. And for his whole career Jeff was taking that off the table also. The O-line coach, the offensive coordinator, head coach, the fans, nobody had to worry about whether he would be out there.”

The Lions have to worry about it this week, but are confident rookie Riley Reiff can step in and play well for Backus.