HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – Thursday night games are never easy to prepare for. Players get just a half week to recover from their bumps and bruises. And coaches have just a few days to review their teams film, review the next opponents’ film, and formulate a new gameplan.
That sounds stressful already. Unfortunately for the Texans, they’ve got just a half week to prepare for the New England Patriots, who have:
- Had a winning season for 15 straight seasons
- Won 13 division titles over that same stretch
- Made the AFC Championship game 10 times over that stretch, including the last 5
- Made it to 6 Super Bowls over that stretch, winning 4
It’s going to require more effort, no matter New England’s quarterback situation.
I asked Texans head coach Bill O’Brien if he’d learned tricks going forward from his 2 Thursday Night Football experiences, A 33-28 loss to the Colts October 9th, 2014 at NRG Stadium, and a 27-20 loss to the Colts October 8th, 2015 at NRG:
“Totally different deal,” replied O’Brien. “This is across the country travel. It’s a different deal here. Coming off a real physical game yesterday. It’s just different. Nothing carries over from those two games.”
When asked how much things change for the players and coaches for a Thursday Night game, O’Brien dropped a depressing fact.
“We sleep here instead of at home.”
“Do I look like I’m kidding? Do I look fresh as a daisy right now?” said a smirking O’Brien.
Texans cornerback Charles James was amused to hear about O’Brien’s sleeping arrangement.
“I’m not surprised,” laughed James. “That dude is a lunatic. That dude would do anything, I’m not surprised by that. He’s a good coach. For him, he loves the game just like a lot of us do. I’m not surprised by that. I won’t be surprised if he sleeps here again tonight.”
So how does a short week affect the Texans players?
“Number 1, it’s about getting your body to recover, so you’re doing a lot of body work trying to get ready for that short turnaround,” said quarterback Brock Osweiler. “It’s a huge mental challenge. You’re not really going to have any physical reps during the week, you’re really not going to practice, you’re just going to have a bunch of walkthroughs. You really need to focus in the meeting room, when you go home at night your studies need to be sharp, and you really just try to maximize your mental preparation time on the short week.”
“Anytime you have a short week, things are kind of condensed,” said cornerback Johnathan Joseph. “You have to do extra on your own, other than what the coaches require from you.”
“Some guys feel like they had been in a car wreck yesterday by going through so much punishment and tackles and what not,” said Charles James. “It’s kind of hard on our bodies, but it’s our job and we have to do it.”
“It’s going to be on national TV so we have to be on point, all cylinders,” said Mercilus. “On Thursday night against another AFC team, we have to go out there and prove our worth.”
Let’s see if they can make it happen.
Paul Gallant hosts “Gallant at Night” – Tuesdays 9-11 PM, Wednesdays 8-11 PM, and Fridays 8-11 PM on SportsRadio 610. He also hosts SportsZone Unfiltered – Fridays at 10 PM – on The Kube: Channel 57 and the Spoiler Alert Podcast – available weekly on iTunes and SportsRadio610.com. Get in touch with Paul via email or his facebook page.