Houston’s Osweiler eyes continued success against Chargers
Nov 13, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers defensive end Corey Liuget (94) reacts after a sack during the fourth quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Qualcomm Stadium. Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)
HOUSTON (AP) — Brock Osweiler doesn't have much experience as an NFL starter. The good news for the Houston Texans is that their inconsistent quarterback does have a history with the San Diego Chargers, who visit Houston on Sunday.
Osweiler won twice last season against the Chargers when he played for Denver. He believes his familiarity with San Diego (4-6) will help him this week despite his move to a new team.
“The one thing it allows me to do is … I know their personnel a little bit,” Osweiler said. “I know what (defensive coordinator John) Pagano wants to do schematically. Obviously, I'm expecting some game plan adjustments that maybe I haven't seen before, but certainly I feel like San Diego is more of a common opponent in my eyes.”
Osweiler and the Texans look to rebound this week after yet another road loss against Oakland in Mexico City. The Texans (6-4) hope to improve to 6-0 at home on Sunday and hold onto first place in the AFC South when they host a San Diego team which has lost two of three and is coming off its bye .
Though the Texans weren't able to outlast Oakland , coach Bill O'Brien believes Osweiler is improving and that he'll get better as he gets more experience in Houston's system. He has thrown 12 touchdown passes with 10 interceptions, but has been much better at home where he's had eight TD tosses.
“Our chemistry is growing with every single day we spend together and obviously my knowledge of the offense is getting better and better each week,” Osweiler said.
Chargers coach Mike McCoy has a history with Osweiler . He was Denver's offensive coordinator when Osweiler was drafted in 2012 and the coach is impressed with the progress he's made this season.
“I know the attention to detail, the way he prepares,” McCoy said. “He's going to be the biggest critic of himself, but a talented player. The more you play with your teammates, the more you play in your system … the more comfortable you are going to feel the better you are going to play as time goes on, and that showed on Monday night.”
Some things to know about Houston's first meeting against San Diego since 2013.
NOT THAT WATT: There will be a Watt on the field in Houston, but it won't be Texans injured superstar J.J. Watt. It will be his brother Derek Watt , a rookie sixth-round pick of the Chargers this season. Quarterback Philip Rivers said he's added a new dimension to their offense.
“He's kind of a true fullback that was haven't really had in a handful of years,” Rivers said. “We've used our tight ends kind of in that role. He obviously plays on special teams as well, he catches the ball well and he's good as a fullback. He's been a good addition for us.”
CLOWNEY'S CONTRIBUTION: Houston defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is having the best season of his three-year career and is tied for second in the NFL with a career-high 12 tackles for losses. The improvement of the top overall pick in the 2014 draft has helped Houston deal with the loss of Watt.
“He's a very talented player,” McCoy said. “He's a player that you have to make sure you know where he is every play, because he is a special player that can change a game in a hurry.”
RECORD WATCH: With 109 career touchdown catches, San Diego's Antonio Gates needs two to tie Tony Gonzalez for the NFL record for a tight end. Gates has five TD catches this year. He has yet to have a two-touchdown game. Gates has caught 82 career scoring passes from Rivers, the most in NFL history between a quarterback and a tight end.
EXTRA TIME: This is the second week in a row Houston will meet a team coming off its bye. Coach Bill O'Brien said his coaching staff had to work more this week and last to even the field since their opponents had more time to get ready.
“They've already been preparing for you for three or four days or whatever it is,” O'Brien said. “We have a lot of catching up to do … I'm not complaining about that. It's just it's definitely something that we have to put in extra time to try to catch up to their preparation time for us.”
GORDON'S WORK: San Diego running back Melvin Gordon looks to continue his big season. He's the NFL's fourth-leading rusher with 838 yards, needing 162 more for his first 1,000-yard season and the 20th in franchise history. The Chargers' last 1,000-yard rusher was Ryan Mathews with 1,255 in 2013. Gordon ran for a career-high 196 yards in a victory against Tennessee three weeks ago. He has three 100-yard games and nine rushing touchdowns this season, compared to no 100-yard games and no touchdowns during his miserable rookie season, when he was benched twice for fumbling and then injured his left knee, forcing him to miss the final two games and leading to offseason surgery.
AP Sports Writer Bernie Wilson contributed to this report.