Bet­ter tack­ling is a top pri­or­ity


Austin American-Statesman - - HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL - Con­tin­ued from C Re­ceiver Dez Bryant broke his left in­dex fin­ger two weeks ago. Seth Perlman / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

it be­fore.”

“We don’t want to be on the end of his record set­ting,” he con­tin­ued. “We’ve got to do our job and really not get caught up in all that.”

The Tex­ans (12-2) need a win to se­cure both a first-round bye and home-field ad­van­tage through­out the AFC play­offs. To do that they’ll have to slow Peter­son, the NFL’s lead­ing rusher.

“It’s go­ing to be the big­gest chal­lenge we’ve had around here in a while,” Hous­ton coach Gary Ku­biak said.

The Tex­ans’ de­fense led by star de­fen­sive end J.J. Watt is fifth in the NFL in yards rush­ing al­lowed a game with 93.2 — and Peter­son is av­er­ag­ing 129.4. But he’s been even more dom­i­nant of late, av­er­ag­ing 162.4 yards over the last eight games with two 200-yard per­for­mances.

“Peter­son is a great run­ning back,” Watt said. “He’s play­ing as good as any­one in the league right now.”

When asked how to slow Peter­son down, Watt had a sim­ple an­swer.

“Tackle him,” he said with a chuckle. “We just need to play sound de­fense and ex­e­cute our as­sign­ments and we’ll be just fine.”

That’s eas­ier said than done, and Ku­biak is a bit con­cerned be­cause he thought his team didn’t tackle very well in Sun­day’s 29-17 win over Colts. He said that he’s putting ex­tra em­pha­sis on bet­ter tack­ling.

He’s also hop­ing the Tex­ans ad­just well to fac­ing a run-first team af­ter weeks of deal­ing with pass-happy of­fenses.

“The thing that’s really dif­fi­cult is we’ve been play­ing teams that are a lot dif­fer­ent,” Ku­biak said. “We’ve been play­ing teams that kind of spread us out, throw the ball. Now all of the sud­den we’ve got to line up and tackle the best in foot­ball. So we’ve got our work cut out for us.”

“Ob­vi­ously (Peter­son) can’t score a touch­down with­out run­ning past the back end, and we know the sec­ondary is the last line of de­fense,” cor­ner­back Johnathan Joseph said. “You have to be on top of your tack­ling game 100 per­cent this week.”

Min­nesota Vik­ings run­ning back Adrian Peter­son is av­er­ag­ing 129.4 yards per game this sea­son, but 162.4 over the past eight games.

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