HOUSTON (CBS Radio) – The Texans hope to even up their record when they travel to Atlanta this weekend but they’ll face a tough test against the undefeated Falcons.
“This offense is starting to click for them,” Texans nose tackle Vince Wilfork said after Thursday’s practice. “We understand that so we got to be at our best this week, especially going on the road against a team that’s fire hot.”
Last week, the Texans’ defense was able to prevent the Bucs’ big, speedy and talented receiver tandem of Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson from doing a ton of damage. However, their task gets tougher this week facing four-time Pro Bowler Roddy White and two-time Pro Bowler Julio Jones, who already has 34 catches for 440 yards and four touchdowns through the Falcons’ first three games, ranking at the top of the leaderboard in every significant NFL receiving category.
“He’s a beast, so we got to make sure that everything we’re doing we have to do well facing someone like him and a quarterback like Matt Ryan,” Wilfork said.
Jones is off to a scorching start even though he said he can do better during Wednesday’s conference call with the media, which is scary.
“What he’s doing now is not surprising because he’s been doing it since college,” Texans safety Rahim Moore said. “Julio and I are from the same draft class. They were talking about him back in high school and everything he did spilled over to college and now to the pros. I believe he has potential to be a Hall of Fame receiver one day when it’s all said and done.”
Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins says he doesn’t watch many receivers in the league but Jones is definitely one that he does watch.
“I admire his game,” Hopkins said. “He’s one of the best at my position and one of the best in the NFL so every time the Falcons are playing, he gets a lot of attention.”
Atlanta’s passing attack isn’t the only part of their offense the Texans have to worry about. The Falcons’ run game really got going last week in their win over the Cowboys as Devonta Freeman had 30 carries for 141 yards and three touchdowns – all career highs.
“He’s putting good stuff on film,” Moore said. “He’s running hard, he’s running guys over, he’s running past guys, and I’m very impressed with how he is out of the backfield – that’s when he’s really most dangerous and in space.
“And he has some savvy, he’s got good size and he doesn’t take many hits. If he does take a hit, he’s bouncing off of you. So, he’s a good back, young, fresh too.”
Tevin Coleman, the Falcons’ third-round rookie running back out of Indiana, has added 112 yards and one touchdown on 29 carries so far this season. Texans coach Bill O’Brien knows him well from his days as the head coach at Penn State.
“I’m very familiar with Coleman from the Big Ten Conference,” O’Brien said. “Freeman is really having a good year. He runs hard, he has good cutting ability, he’s fast, he doesn’t run out of bounds. Coleman has good speed, is a bigger back, a dynamic back. They’re very, very good.”
“For us up front defensively, we know everybody’s at the point of attack and they’ll hit the ball anywhere,” Wilfork said. “They do a really good job of blocking it up and the running backs finding those holes, so we’ve got to play well in the passing game and the running game to be successful against this team.”