HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – After beating the Bengals 12 – 10 Saturday night, the AFC South Champion Houston Texans will be the AFC’s 4 seed when the NFL Playoffs start. But even though their last game of the season – Sunday in Tennessee against the Titans – won’t affect their playoff positioning, Texans head coach Bill O’Brien thinks the game holds importance.
“You play to win,” said O’Brien at his press conference this afternoon. “I think that’s what we’re all about here at the Houston Texans. I think that it’s important to win anytime that you play . . . We’ll be smart about it, but we’re going to go out there and do everything we can against a very good opponent.”
“It means a lot,” continued O’Brien. “To finish with a double digit win season in this league is very difficult to do.”
Still, there’s got to be some merit to giving some beaten up starters a much needed rest, right?
“We’re playing to win,” said O’Brien when asked if he’d rest his starters. “So we’re not even talking about that. We’re playing to win. We’ve got a chance to win 10 games. I don’t know how many double digit win seasons the Texans have, but I think that’s important. I think that every game counts. I think it’s really just out of respect for the National Football League. And football in general. You play to win.”
“I don’t think you can substitute winning,” continued O’Brien. “I don’t think there’s anything that is better than winning. I don’t care where the game’s played, what the game’s about. Winning is good for everything and everybody. I think that for this organization, for these guys in the locker room, the work that they’ve put in, I think it’s important that we go out there and do the best that we can.”
O’Brien did say that they can approach the week a little bit differently when it comes to helping players get ready for the playoffs.
“There’s going to be different things that we do off the field as far as treatment in the training room,” said O’Brien. “Things that we do in the weight room as far as getting guys as healthy as we can.”
O’Brien said that quarterback Tom Savage will start Sunday in Tennessee. As for running back Lamar Miller – who sat out Saturday’s victory over the Bengals – the Texans head coach said he’d re-evaluate his status Wednesday.
The Texans offense – Savage, the offensive line, and all other parts – had some real struggles Saturday night. Especially when it came to the red zone.
“We’re definitely offensively – I can tell you this – we’re going to work on the red area every day (at practice this week),” said O’Brien. “It’s not very good in the red area. Starting with me. We’ve got to coach it better.”
Savage and the Texans had negative passing yards (due to 3 sacks) for a large portion of the first half. But, O’Brien liked what he saw out of the three year veteran in the second half.
“I thought he got into a rhythm in the second half and he was much better,” said O’Brien. “I think everyone could see from that. What did we learn from that? I don’t know . . . but I thought Tom played better in the second half.”
O’Brien is hoping that they can build off that finish and further their three game winning streak into the playoffs.
“I talk to the players a lot – and the players too – about this being a progress league. Being an improvement league,” said O’Brien. “That’s one thing I learned in this league early on. You’ve got to be decent in September . . . but you need to be playing your best football at the end.”
“I’m not saying we’re playing unbelievable football,” continued O’Brien. “Obviously offensively we’re not scoring 30 a game. But we’re winning. And one of the keys is that you get into good position in December. You’re playing meaningful games. And hopefully you’re playing good football at that time. And that’s what we try to do.”
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. Get in touch with Paul via email or his facebook page.