Mandatory Credit: Photo by David Zalubowski/AP/Shutterstock (13400614an) Houston Texans linebacker Christian Kirksey (58) intercepts a ball intended for Denver Broncos wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland (16) during the second half of an NFL football game, in Denver Texans Broncos Football, Denver, United States – 18 Sep 2022
When the Texans traded quarterback Deshaun Watson to the Browns for three first-round draft choices, not much was made about the additional compensation general manager Nick Caserio received from Cleveland.
On Tuesday, Christian Kirksey addressed the media and discussed a variety of things related to the team’s much-maligned defense. Kirksey was honest, sometimes very direct, and shared his thoughts on the things that have gone well, what has not gone well, and what they can correct as they prepare for their Week 11 game with the Washington Commanders at NRG Stadium.
When asked about what worked well in the first half of Week 10, Kirksey stated:
“We always talk about doing a better job to start fast. To start the game, we did some things well. I think what we have to work on is doing what we do well and maintaining that throughout the whole game and not get broken down as a defense or get sloppy in technique, or don’t wrap up at the point of attack. I think going into it; we started fast. We’ve just got to work on being a second-half team. We all know that games are won in the fourth quarter. Right now, I don’t think we’re that good of a team in the second half. We’ve got to figure it out and just keep working at it.”
“When we started the last game, I thought that everybody was doing their job in the beginning. I thought that we were playing with a lot of intensity, a lot of energy. I thought we were tackling well, and then it broke down towards the second half. I don’t really know why. That’s something that we, as a defense, have to figure out. I thought we did some good things, but obviously not good enough to win.”
Kirksey does not believe it is an energy issue for the defense in the second half:
“I think we have the energy. We just have to figure out why we’re not winning games in the second half, and that’s that part we haven’t figured out. We have talent on this team. I love this group of men. I would go to war with this group of men. We just haven’t quite figured it out, and we will. It’s the National Football League. There’s no time to sit, pout, and complaining about it. We just have to go back to work.
“When our unit is called, we’re called to go do our job. The offense does their best they can do to do their job. Special teams does their best to do their job. So, we can’t really complain if we get a short three-and-out and don’t have time to dissect what the Giants are doing. We just have to go out there and play our defense and try to find a way. I wish I had a special formula to see what we can do to win these games. As a defense, we take pride every single time we’re out on that field. We’ve just got to get the job done. There’s no way around it but to get the job done.”
When asked about the things the defense needs to improve upon from their Week 10 loss to the Giants, Kirksey explained:
“To be honest, it’s just as simple as everybody doing their job. You wish you could have plays back. I know I say this time and time. Everybody wished they could have done something better, but it all just comes down to everybody doing their jobs to the best of their ability and making the tackle. We’ve got to tackle better. I know coach stresses it a lot; when we are at the point of attack, it can’t just be one guy there. It’s got to be a bunch of guys there to tackle the ball carrier, knowing that we played an elite running back. I think we all can say this he’s top-three in the league, so we’ve got to do a better job of tackling.”
Kirksey then shared some things he felt are important lessons from his career thus far:
“You’ve got to stay consistent in everything that you do. This game has a bunch of highs and lows. You have times when you’re winning, and everything is going good. You want to pat yourself on the back; everybody loves you. You’ve got times when you’re doing bad where things are not going well for you. It’s frustration; everything else is upside down. You just got to stay level-headed and just keep chipping away; keep chopping that wood and brighter days will come ahead. For me, just going through my career, always try to remain myself, always working at something, whether it’s creeping up on 700 (tackles), how can I get to 800 (tackles). How can I tackle better? It’s a bunch of missed tackles that I probably had; I could’ve been at 700. How can I improve on that? I think that’s the key to having longevity in this career is always try to work and get better at something, stay level-headed, and keep grinding. That’s what I’m continuing to do, do my best to turn this thing around. At the end of the day, we still got more games ahead that we can get this thing turned around. You’ve got to still have faith and believe. That’s what I’m focused on, being the best asset to the team.”