Phillips era begins at Texans

Winning is a distant memory for the Houston Texans and it is up

to Wade Phillips to solve the problem – even just once – before the

season ends in a few weeks.

The two-time defending AFC South champions have lost 11 straight

games. With Phillips taking over for fired coach Gary Kubiak on an

interim basis, the first order of business is to rid the team of

the losing culture that has grown stronger as the losses piled


”A win for this team would be big,” Phillips said Monday.

”The team’s been uptight to me. All the pressure’s been on them,

they’ve put it on themselves and rightly so. Now we just have to go


Phillips’ players fell in line with their new boss, with many of

them talking about the need to create a ”winning culture.”

The season is lost, but salvaging some momentum the last three

games would go a long way in restoring some pride and something

positive to build on once the season ends. The Texans’ pride takes

a hit every time someone suggests playing to gain the No. 1 pick in

the draft next spring.

”It’s insulting,” said left tackle Duane Brown. ”We’re not

worried about what’s going to happen next year. We’re worried about

what’s going to happen this week. Anybody out there that’s thinking

of that is crazy.”

That line of questioning is the culture that Phillips, who takes

the interim tag for the second time this season after filling in

while Kubiak was recovering from a mini-stroke, is looking to


With just three weeks to go, Phillips was clear that making

wholesale changes was not likely in the cards. He did, however,

allude to some small changes that he will be looking for as the

team looks to finish strong.

”It’s obviously a lot different than when Gary was sick,”

Phillips said. ”I just tried to keep things in order, keep the

seat warm, until Gary got back. You’re trying to mold a team when

you start out before the a way you feel like you can help

the team. When you’re thrown in with three games left it’s a lot

harder mold.”

While he declined to go into specifics about changes or new

roles for coaches, he confirmed that he will look to try and shake

things up.

”I’m going to try and influence some things offensively that I

feel can help us,” Phillips said. ”I’m not going to take over the

offense. I’m going to try and be a well-rounded coach. That’s what

the head coach does as far try and be involved in all aspects of

the game.”

Making those moves will not put Houston in the playoffs. The

hope is that starting this week the team will play well against

division leader Indianapolis.

”I don’t think we’ve had fun in a long time,” said defensive

end Antonio Smith. ”I think it started happening early on when the

panic button got hit prematurely and everyone started worrying

about the future. It might be bad to say, but all you’ve got now is