Texans’ special teams looks to bounce back from rough performance


Joey Slye missed his lone field goal attempt against the Cleveland Browns.

The Texans’ replacement kicker was wide left from 41 yards during the final minutes of a 31-21 road defeat.

Slye, who made all three field goals against the Jacksonville Jaguars, has connected on all seven extra points through two games while standing in for regular kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn as he’s on injured reserve with a groin injury and making progress in his recovery.

“He had a great pregame, had a great week of practice, especially as we worked toward the end of the week,” Texans special teams coordinator Frank Ross said. “ Every one of our specialists, you want to kind of hit those final cleanups as you get closer to game time. Just a little bit of a pull, but we’ve got to fix our field goal protection in general. We’ve got to get all that together. We’ve got to get those guys to make sure we know everything is stout and pure.”

Pro Bowl return specialist Andre Roberts had an uncharacteristic muffed punt against the Browns in the first quarter that led to a Browns touchdown run by fullback Andy Janovich.

 “Obviously short kick, coming up into traffic, coming up at full speed,” Ross said. “And listen, it’s Andre Roberts, everybody knows this guy puts in the work, has done it time and time again, no secret to myself, to him or anybody that we will play. Nobody wants to get that right more than him, so we'll get that corrected.

“It's our job as special teams to always get the ball back to the offense and make sure we maintain the flow of the game. Any play, whether it's a turnover, a sudden change in the game of football can happen any point in time. It's the NFL, things do happen, and we’ve got to make sure that we just continue to play our game and not let any of those things kind of spiral, and I think we did that.”

Roberts’ reaction to the play?

“Next play,” Ross said. “If there's one thing about me, maybe it's because I don't have that good of a memory, but I'm an in-the-moment guy. All I care about is the next play, and I'm sure he's the exact same.”

The Texans didn’t bench Roberts. He was needed to fill in on offense with injuries to Danny Amendola and Nico Collins at wide receiver. That’s why Desmond King filled in on returns.

 “We’ll call the game to whoever we have available to us,” Ross said. “ Andre was there going into an offensive role to help spare some of that, so that's why Desmond (King II) was back there for those situations. That’s the blessing of having a deep returner room, there's always a chance we can have different bodies back there throughout any game on the season, really.

“We have Tremon Smith who has a history of both returns, so we have multiple guys that can do it. If anybody at any point in time, if Desmond King is playing every single snap of defense, we would try and lighten the load, potentially, in our kicking game phases.”

Aaron Wilson has covered the NFL for 20 seasons, including the Texans, Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars. He has previously written for The Houston Chronicle and The Baltimore Sun. He’s on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL and Instagram: @aaronwilson7128.

Houston Texans v Cleveland Browns

Photo: Getty Images


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