Texans look to turn up pressure on Lions QB Matthew Stafford

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By SportsRadio 610

HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610) -- The Texans hope to build on their best defensive performance of the season with another one against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day.

Detroit’s offense does not do anything very well, but they do have Matthew Stafford at quarterback.

Stafford can make every throw, and if he has time in the pocket, will deliver it downfield.

“A lot of their routes are vertical routes,” Texans interim head coach Romeo Crennel said. “We’re going to have to do a good job of trying to pressure him, first of all. I think that’s where it starts. Particularly, if they’re going to throw vertical, they have to have time to give those wide receivers a chance to get enough depth in the route.”

The Texans defense is giving up the highest passer rating to opposing quarterbacks, but have shown an ability to bring pressure effectively.

Defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver unleashed the double edge safety blitz against the Patriots. Both Justin Reid and Lonnie Johnson hit Cam Newton twice, and Reid picked up his first career sack.

“It’s incredibly important, especially in today’s day and age in football,” Weaver said Tuesday about pressuring Stafford. “Guys are slinging the ball all over the place so if you can affect the quarterback whether that’s with rush impact or what you’re doing from a disguise standpoint, it usually ends up being a long day for you.”

Second-year defensive end Charles Omenihu has only two sacks this season, but has a team-leading nine quarterback hits.

Inside linebacker Zach Cunningham is a factor when used to bring pressure and ties outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus for second on the team with three sacks.

And then of course there is future Hall of Fame defensive end J.J. Watt, who leads the team with four sacks and recorded a career-high four passes defensed against the Patriots.

Meanwhile, only six teams have allowed more sacks than the Lions.

“The objective is to win,” Watt said Tuesday. “That’s the number one objective. Obviously to do that we want to stop the run and get after the quarterback. That’s the formula for our success. We want to stop the run and then get after the quarterback. That’s what we have to do to win football games.”