HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Texans have hit rock bottom.
They didn’t have a stretch this bad in their franchise-worst 2-14 season in 2005 or as an expansion team in 2002. In fact, they’ve never dropped seven straight games.
Coach Gary Kubiak returned to work in a limited basis on Monday after his mini-stroke on Nov. 2, but it’s unclear if he or interim coach Wade Phillips will be in charge when they try to end the skid when they host Oakland Sunday.
Phillips said Kubiak spoke to the team Monday and it’s up to his doctors how much he’ll work this week.
“We really don’t know until they tell us actually what he’s going to do, as far as the week is concerned, but he looked good,” Phillips said.
Kubiak collapsed at halftime of Houston’s loss to Indianapolis and was rushed to the hospital. He was released on Tuesday and the team said then that the 52-year-old is expected to make a full recovery.
“If he can come back, then I won’t be (interim head coach),” Phillips said. “If he can’t, for whatever reason or if they don’t think he’s quite ready yet, then I’ll be ready to go.”
For now, Phillips is looking for a way to get the Texans back on track. Phillips, who was last a head coach in Dallas, thinks the team has the right mindset to improve.
“The only way you change it is just keep going, not what you’re doing, but how you’re doing it,” Phillips said. “It’s about attitude. If you keep a positive, great attitude, you’ve got a better chance, and that’s what we’re going to try and do.”
Receiver Andre Johnson, who joined the team in its second year, said this is the most difficult stretch he’s dealt with in Houston because expectations were so high this season. After suffering through so many lean years, he thought the tough times were behind him.
“This is probably the most frustrating,” he said. “I guess because you have the team, you have the pieces in place and for some reason we just can’t get it done. You just wish things could be better.”
The Texans have been outscored 37-10 in the second half of their last two games. Second-year player Case Keenum, who took over for Matt Schaub three games ago, has been great before halftime in each of his starts, but had trouble moving the offense in the second half.
The Texans aren’t certain why the two halves have been so different.
“Maybe it’s our mindset. I’m not really sure,” running back Ben Tate said. “Maybe we’ve just got to learn to put our foot on the gas.”
Houston has also been hit hard by injuries to key players. The latest: Running back Arian Foster will have season-ending back surgery. That leaves Tate, who is still nursing four broken ribs, as the team’s top running back.
He said Sunday he thought the team should have run the ball more after halftime and reiterated that point Monday. But Johnson didn’t want to get into whether Houston’s lack of running plays in the second half made the team’s offense one-dimensional.
“You’ll have to go talk to the people upstairs about that,” he said. “I don’t worry about that. I just run the plays that are called.”
One player who wasn’t shy about criticizing the decision-making on Sunday was veteran safety Ed Reed, who said the Texans were outplayed and outcoached against Arizona. Reed wasn’t available Monday, but Phillips responded to his comments.
“Everybody has their own feelings about what’s happening,” Phillips said. “They have their own ideas about what’s happening or didn’t happen. We try to keep everything in house.”
AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org